Research indicates new hosts for two major plant diseases

The Plant Management Network highlights two research projects this month that have uncovered new possible hosts for two deadly forest diseases: laurel wilt and Phytophthora ramorum.

Vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle, laurel wilt attacks species in the Lauraceae family, causing death within a few years. Recently, scientists tested Persea indica, a tree species native to the Madeira and Canary Islands, for its attractiveness to the redbay ambrosia beetle. The beetle preferred P. indica over Persea borbonia (redbay), its primary host in the U.S.

P. ramorum is a major killer of oak trees and rhododendron in the U.S. Recently scientists tested several other possible plant hosts for susceptibility to P. ramorum and discovered that yaupon, sweetbay magnolia, Virginia creeper, and bald cypress are susceptible to the pathogen. This finding, the first for these species, has serious implications for forest understory plants.

Read the article about P. indica and laurel wilt here.

Read the article about P. ramorum here.

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