Plant Health

The Plant Health and Nursery & Christmas Tree programs, in cooperation with officials from the USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine Program (USDA APHIS-PPQ), administer the Phytophthora ramorum Certification Program for the state of Oregon. All nurseries that have been found positive for P. ramorum since March 2011 and ship regulated host plant material out of state must participate. These nurseries are subject to biannual surveys where inspectors sample suspect host material, water, and soil. Nurseries that ship regulated host plant material within state are subject to similar regulatory procedures, however this is overseen by ODA only.

Along with USDA APHIS-PPQ, ODA also oversees regulatory matters of the Sudden Oak Death quarantine area of Curry Country, Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry and US Forest Service direct disease mitigation efforts within the infested areas in southwestern Oregon.

What is Sudden Oak Death?

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is a disease caused by the invasive fungal-like pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum. Since its first detection in northern California in the mid 1990s,
P. ramorum has been found to naturally infect over 100 different plant species.
The USDA APHIS-PPQ maintains the official regulated host list.

Different hosts, different symptoms

Depending on the host in question, infection can result in one of two diseases: Sudden Oak Death (SOD) or Ramorum shoot dieback and leaf blight. Each of these diseases causes a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity.

SOD causes the rapid dieback of members of the Oak family (Fagaceae), most notably tanoak and coast live oak. It is characterized by bleeding cankers that girdle the trunks of the trees, causing death. This 'sudden' death appears to happen very quickly, although the tree may actually have been infected for several months.

Ramorum shoot dieback and leaf blight are diseases associated with multiple plant species, many of which are commonly sold in ornamental nurseries. This infection typically does not fully kill a plant. However, the dieback on some highly susceptible cultivars and species may become severe enough to kill the plant. Within ornamental nurseries, the following five genera of plants are most frequently found infected with P. ramorum: Rhododendron, Camellia, Viburnum, Pieris, and Kalmia. The symptoms on rhododendron are virtually identical to those caused by other aerial Phytophthora species. This is why laboratory testing is crucial for accurate diagnosis.

For additional information, detailed descriptions, and images of symptoms refer to Sudden Oak Death (OSU Cooperative Extension)  

Where is Sudden Oak Death found in Oregon?

Phytophthora ramorum is present in a number of Oregon nurseries. The wildlands surrounding the city of Brookings in Curry Country is the only region of the state where the pathogen is found in natural settings. It is believed that the pathogen was introduced into the area through infected nursery plants. Curry country is under a partial quarantine and growers of host plant material are subject to quarantine restrictions for movement.

Resources

Guide for Landowners Harvesting Tanoak

Oregon Department of Forestry guide to establishing pest-free production sites within the P. ramorum quarantine area in Curry County. Guide for Landowners Harvesting Tanoak

Phytophthora ramorum news, information, and regulation

Information from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Phytophthora ramorum info from USDA

Rhododendron leaf blight and shoot dieback

Plant disease information from PNW Pest Management Handbook. Rhododendron leaf blight and shoot dieback information

Sudden Oak Death and Phytophthora ramorum guide

A Guide for Forest Managers, Christmas Tree Growers, and Forest Tree Nursery Operators in Oregon and Washington. Oregon State University Extension fact sheet and guidance. Phytophthora ramorum guide

Sudden Oak Death Forest Health fact sheet

Oregon Department of Forestry fact sheet on Phytophthora ramorum. Sudden Oak Death Forest Health fact sheet

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​Plant Health Contacts

Mandi Fraley
Program Specialist
Phone: 503-986-4795
Shawn Meng
Plant Pathologist
Phone: 503-986-4661

Nursery Contacts 

Chris Benemann
Lead Horticulturist & Sudden Oak Death Specialist
Phone: (503) 986-4678
Melissa Lujan
Horticulturist
Phone: 503-510-5529
Gary McAninch
Program Manager
Phone: 503-986-4785