Sudden oak death caused by Phytophthora ramorum in Oregon

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Plant Disease, Volume 86 (2002)



Sudden oak death, caused by Phytophthora ramorum (1,2), has been found for the first time in Oregon, killing tanoak, Lithocarpus densiflorus, trees. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the disease outside of the San Francisco to Monterey area in California, (300 km to the south). Nine areas of infestation, all within a 24-km2 area, were discovered on forest lands near Brookings, in southwest Oregon. Mortality centers ranged in size from 0.2 to 4.5 ha and included 5 to approximately 40 diseased trees. P. ramorum was isolated from stem cankers using Phytophthora-selective medium. Isolates had distinctive morphological features characteristic of P. ramorum, including abundant production of chlamydospores and caducous, semipapillate sporangia on solid media. Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of isolates of P. ramorum from Oregon were identical to ITS sequences of isolates from California (1). The pathogen also was isolated from necrotic lesions on leaves and stems of native Rhododendron macrophyllum and Vaccinium ovatum growing beneath diseased tanoaks. In July 2001, the disease was located by an aerial survey conducted cooperatively by the USDA Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry. All lands within 1.6 km (1 mile) of the mortality centers are subject to Oregon quarantine, which bars the transport of any host plant materials. An eradication effort is currently underway. Symptomatic plants and all known host plants within 15 to 30 m of symptomatic plants are being cut and burned in the first phase of this operation. The total treated area is approximately 16 ha.