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Phytopheria ramorum Detected and Destroyed

In late February of 2022, some rhododendrons that had just arrived from another nursery tested positive for Phytopheria ramorum.  When we receive plants from other partner nurseries, we isolate the plants from the inventory of the rest of the nursery until we can determine the health of the plants.  In this case, the delivery of rhododendrons was destroyed.  Included in the destruction were any other rhododendrons that were in the isolation zone.  No plants were shipped to customers from this group.

Phytopheria ramorum(P. ramorum) is a fungus like pathogen also known as Sudden Oak Death. There are over 100 know hosts to P. ramorum, with rhododendrons being one of them. Because this is such a devastating disease to certain species of oaks, when P. ramorum is detected in a nursery, the USDA is notified and certain protocol is put in place. 

Unfortunately, this protocol included alerting customers that had purchased plants from the nursery six months prior and through the month of May.  USDA alerted local agricultural agencies with a form letter, and then the local agencies determined how they would interact locally.  The unfortunate part was that many customers were notified about plants with the disease, however it was not explained that the plants they had received never came in contact with the diseased plants.

At Rhododendrons Direct, random sampling of thousands of plants take place every year.  Besides the newly arrived plants from another nursery, we have not had any plants test positive for P. Ramorum.  Please feel free to write if you have any questions or contact your local agriculture department.