The Past, Present, and Future of Sudden Oak Death

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The plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum has been considered a major forest pest since it was identified as causing Sudden Oak Death in 2000. In California alone, it has killed millions of trees and caused $135 million in property losses to single family homes. Government expenditures on control have reached well over $80 million and current US regulations restrict the shipment of all nursery plants from California, Oregon, and Washington. Since its discovery, we have learned much about the biology of the pathogen: the modes and vectors of its spread, the species it infects, and how to prevent infections or just manage the resulting damages. For instance, the list of known plant hosts has grown considerably, from a handful of California oaks to more than 125 species, varieties, and cultivars. While other review articles present extensive overviews of the pathogen and its management, this article attempts to distill some of the more important developments of the past decade. Specifically, this paper reviews the impacts to the horticultural nursery industry, attempts at forest and landscape management in the western United States, the potential usefulness of water monitoring, and the recent development of disease on Japanese larch trees in the United Kingdom.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2012

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