Oak-killing disease could be on its way to Minnesota, officials warn

The disease causes sudden oak death, and is feared to be making its way to the Midwest.
Author:
Publish date:
unnamed (1)

DNR officials are asking Minnesotans to be on the lookout for a fungal disease that causes "sudden oak death."

Called Phytophthora ramorum, the invasive pathogen has killed in 30-45 million oak trees on the West Coast, mostly in the California and Oregon regions.

While no cases have been found in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is asking residents to be on the lookout because it also affects around 100 plants, including rhododendrons.

The MDA says that rhododendrons infected with the pathogen has been found at several nurseries around the Midwest. Anyone who has bought a rhododendron in 2019 is being asked to inspect the plant for signs of infection.

Infected shrubs have leaves with "large, brown blotches," the MDA notes, with young green stems and shoots turning brown and shriveling.

"While rhododendrons may not die from this plant disease, our main concern is that the plants act as carriers of Phytophthora ramorum and could spread spores to Minnesota’s oaks," said MDA Plant Pathologist Michelle Grabowski in a press release. 

"Phytophthora ramorum has never been identified in Minnesota but it could have significant impact on the state’s forests and landscapes. Tests have shown that native trees like Northern red oak and white oak can be infected with Phytophthora ramorum."

Sudden oak death disease

Oak trees infected with the microorganism suffer a "bleeding" canker that turns the wood and bark reddish brown, with red liquid seeping out of the cracks.

It destroys the tissue that transports food and waters through the tree, killing the tree as it spreads.

Anyone with symptoms on a rhododendron should call or 1-888-545-6684 or email arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

1402 Mainstreet, Hopkins, Minnesota

Woman, 26, fatally struck by suspected impaired driver in Hopkins

A man was arrested on suspicion of impaired driving.

fireball

Fireball crash in Lowry Hill tunnel kills 2, closes I-94 west

Traffic cameras showed the shocking moment the car crashed and exploded into flames.

police tape, crime scene

Police: Man dies after breaking window during domestic assault in St. Paul

The man's official cause of death will be ruled by a medical examiner.

Rep. Joe McDonald

'No respect': MN lawmaker shows up to debate in pirate costume

He was called out on Twitter by Rep. Kaohly Vang Her.

Rocco Baldelli

Twins-Athletics postponed for Monday amid COVID issues

The Twins are hoping to play a doubleheader with the A's on Tuesday.

Rep. Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters speaks in Brooklyn Center, draws ire of right-wing media

The congresswoman visited protesters Saturday night.

Related

Invasive tree pest has now been found in festive wreaths in Minnesota

People are urged to burn or trash the wreaths and boughs after the holidays are over.

Viburnum beetle

Invasive beetle found in Minnesota for the first time

The beetle weakens and eventually kills viburnum plants.

Dog treats sold at a dozen MN pet stores could kill, officials warn

Consuming or even touching the treats could lead to botulism.

Chainsaw tree

Man killed by falling tree in Oak Grove

The 49-year-old was trying to cut the tree down at the time.

As climate changes, Minnesotans are more at risk from Lyme disease, flooding

Minnesota is not making enough progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a report says.

Minnesota leads the US in cases of a rare, deadly tick-borne disease

The disease can cause swelling of the brain and often proves fatal.

Bar's coyote-killing contest courts controversy in Oak Grove

Back to the SRO Bar & Grill in Oak Grove has been getting a lot of backlash.