Photo: USDA FOREST SERVICE
Photo: USDA FOREST SERVICE

Sudden oak death disease confirmed in Ohio

Ohio is one of several Midwest states where infected plants were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout the state.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Inspection Service detected sudden oak death caused by Phytophthora ramorum on rhododendron plants. Walmart and Rural King agreed to voluntarily recall the plants from their stores, according to a release.

Approximately 1,600 rhododendrom plants from the infected nursery were shipped to Ohio retailers. The shipment went to at least 17 other states.

Leaf spots and shoot dieback are signs of the disease detected on rhododendron plants shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores in Ohio.
Photo: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Gardeners and homeowners who have recently purchased a rhododendron from Walmart or Rural King should monitor the plant for signs of disease, including leaf spots and shoot dieback. It also is advised that Ohioans who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants from these stores between March and May of this year to dispose of them to prevent further spread of the disease. Plants can be destroyed by burning, deep burial or double-bagging the plant, including the root ball, in heavy duty trash bags for disposal into a sanitary landfill (where allowable). 

Consumers should not compost or dispose of the plant material in municipal yard waste. Garden tools used on any affected plants should be sanitized with bleach or 91% (or higher) alcohol before they are used again. 

Click here to report possible infected plants.

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