DNR: Oak tree killing fungal pathogen found in rhododendrons

(Photo By United States Department of Agriculture)

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that they intercepted plants containing Phytophthora ramorum, more commonly known as sudden oak death, for the first time in roughly 10 years.

SOD is a fungal pathogen that has killed a large number of oak trees on the West Coast. Oak trees standing within six feet of SOD can be killed. Thankfully, the harmful fungal pathogen is yet to be established in the mid Midwest. SOD travels in over 100 species of plants. While it doesn’t kill the host plant, it does cause some browning of the leafs.

Inspectors from the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology say they found SOD in several types of rhododendrons being sold in Columbus, Noblesville, South Bend, Sullivan and Tippecanoe County.

DNR says they are destroying all rhododendrons from the source nursery, Park Hill Plants in Oklahoma, as well as any other host plants that co-mingled with them.

If you purchased rhododendrons over the past four weeks in any of the communities listed above, please call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) for instructions.

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