The Ashridge Nurseries Blog

Identify Sudden Oak Death - Phytophthora ramorum

The fungus behind sudden oak death or SOD, Phytophthora ramorum, is a new disease outbreak, first recorded in the early 1990's.

In America, it has had a potent effect on their local Oaks (Quercus group). In Europe, it mainly attacks other unrelated plants, especially:

  • Rhodedendron.
  • Camellia.
  • Peiris.
  • Larch.
  • Ornamental viburnums like bodatense and tinus.

Native British oaks do not seem to be very susceptible.

Symptoms of Sudden Oak Death:
It can produce cankers that ooze a black liquid.

It can cause leaves to turn brown and die in a spreading patch from the edge.
You can read more about identifying it here.

Is Sudden Oak Death a major concern in the UK?
Charlton Clark of the Forestry Commision described the area of British trees that have recently been cut down & which will soon be cut down as being enough to fill 4,400 football pitches.
The estimate is that 4 million trees will be cut down.
Individual trees are are being removed in large numbers and Larch forests of up to 50, 000 trees are being cut down.

Why can you do about it?
If you spot it, you can report it to FERA, or the Forestry Commission if the trees are in a public wood.

One thought on “Identify Sudden Oak Death - Phytophthora ramorum”

  • Lynette Rule

    Thank you for posting this account of disease on the internet. I have what appears to be an infected Viburnum tinus but cannot be sure. Could you advise on what I ought for the benefit of other trees etc to do about it? Would cutting it down be enough? And then of course, should I cut down any other V.tinus?
    Is it important to keep secateurs etc. isolated from other gardens? [I work as a gardener for a few people].
    Thank you for considering my concerns, and I hope you have time to answer me.

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