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Oregon nursery hit by Sudden Oak Death

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Coffeecraver, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Tree fungus found in Oregon again

    Nursery industry wary of sudden oak death syndrome

    Statesman Journal
    September 22, 2004

    The Oregon nursery industry cringed Tuesday after a routine inspection found sudden oak death syndrome in plants at a Washington County nursery.

    A nursery owned by Hines Horticulture is the latest location where Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus that causes sudden oak death syndrome, has been detected in Oregon. Hines officials said the wholesale nursery has stopped shipping plants susceptible to sudden oak death from the Forest Grove location after tests confirmed the presence of the plant disease in rhododendrons.

    Until last year, the disease had never turned up at an Oregon plant nursery. Known for harming certain oak species, the fungal disease also can infect about 60 varieties of trees and shrubs. That includes landscaping plants valuable to Oregon’s $778 million nursery industry.

    “It’s not great news, but it certainly could be worse,” said Cam Sivesind, a spokesman for the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Because the Oregon nursery industry has been proactive in controlling sudden oak death, the problem at Hines should not trigger a quarantine of Oregon-grown products, he said.

    Hines, a publicly held company, ships plants nationwide to independent garden centers and chain stores, such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Target.

    Officials with the Oregon Department of Agriculture said that they were in the midst of determining where Hines may have shipped potentially infected plants. They also still need to determine whether the infected plants were brought to Forest Grove from another state or propagated on-site.

    In a statement, Hines officials said company records indicate that “a minimal number of customer stores have received these plants.” Company officials did not return phone calls seeking further comment.

    The sudden oak death fungus causes leaf blight and dieback and sometimes kills certain trees and shrubs. Growers in Columbia County briefly were barred from shipping products when the fungus was found at a nursery there.

    Earlier this year, Oregon’s nursery industry pushed for the most rigorous plant inspection and certification program in the nation. All Oregon growers and dealers selling plants vulnerable to sudden oak death now are required to have their plants tested and certified annually as free of the disease. Without the inspection and clean bills of health, the plants can’t be sold.

    The discovery of fungus-infected rhododendrons at Hines shows that the state’s first line of defense against the plant disease is working, state agriculture officials said.

    “We can assure customers nationwide they are getting a clean, quality product,” said Katy Coba, director of the state agriculture department.

    mrose@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6657

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Oh boy... here we go....


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