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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 bodnantense 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 and reporting it here.

Is Sudden Oak Death a major concern in the UK?
Charlton Clark of the Forestry Commission 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 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.

Are there any Canadian songs about sudden oak death?



3 thoughts 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.

  • Andrew Jennings

    Could the fungus killing oak trees be spread by the utility companies when they are cutting back branches from around electricity supplies?

    • Ashridge Support

      Most unlikely. Sudden Oak Death is caused by a soil based fungus, one of the Phytopthera. So branch cutting is unlikely to have any effect.

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