Chesterton Tribune



DNR finds sudden oak death pathogen in rhododendrons being sold in Indiana

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The Indiana DNR is confirming that itís intercepted plants containing a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees--sudden oak death (SOD)--for the first time in about 10 years.

Inspectors from the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology detected SOD (Phytophthora ramorum) in several varieties of rhododendrons being sold in Columbus, Noblesville, South Bend, Sullivan, and Tippecanoe.

SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on the West Coast. SOD has not been established in the Midwest, to date. SOD can kill standing oak trees, which could happen if SOD-positive rhododendrons were planted within about six feet of a standing oak.

SOD travels in more than a hundred species of host plant material. It causes some browning of the leaves in the host but does not kill it. For a list of those plants visit

If you have purchased rhododendrons in the last four weeks in these communities, call (866) 663-9684 or contact the local county extension office at (888) 398-4636 for instructions.

The DNR is destroying all rhododendrons from the source nursery, Park Hill Plants in Oklahoma, and any other host plants which were co-mingled with them. In addition, the DNR is quarantining the sale of four other common SOD host plants (viburnum, azalea, cameilia, and pieris) for further testing to determine if they contain SOD. Testing will determine if other species are infested and require destruction.

This is an ongoing investigation, and guidance could change as more information is gathered.

To learn more about SOD, visit



Posted 5/23/2019




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