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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Disease Alert: Sudden Oak Death on Rhododendrons

Watch out for this disease on your newly purchased plants

‘Starry Night’ rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Starry Night’, Zones 7–9). Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Did you buy a rhododendron this year? If so, read on!

Over the last few years, increasing numbers of dead ash trees (Fraxinus spp., Zones 3–9) have become a common sight in landscapes and on roadsides in the Mid-Atlantic region. Now imagine if we started losing oak trees (Quercus spp., Zones 4–9) at that rate. Fortunately, that’s not an immediate prospect, but it’s a possibility that we gardeners need to be aware of. A key part of preventing, or at least delaying, the spread of potentially devastating pest and disease problems is staying up-to-date about the issues that are threatening our region and the measures in place to keep them in check.

Quarantines—like those currently in place to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly—are one way to minimize the spread of pests and pathogens, but they are only as effective as far as people follow the associated rules and…

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