As you may have heard, several nurseries on the West Coast unknowingly shipped Phytophthora ramorum–infected plants across the country earlier this year. This funguslike pathogen causes a destructive disease called “sudden oak death” (SOD), which is also known as “ramorum blight” or “ramorum dieback.” To date, state and national survey efforts have detected SOD in 21 states. Thus far, SOD has *NOT* been detected in Illinois nor in any bordering state. Additional information about SOD can be obtained by reading issue no. 16 (September 1, 2004; http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/cespubs/hyg/html/200416b.html) of this newsletter.
In response to the nature and spread of this disease, the Illinois SOD Task Force will be offering a SOD detection and response training program for Illinois Master Gardeners, nurserymen, arborists, and landscape professionals. The program is scheduled for March 7, 2005, and will be offered simultaneously
at multiple locations throughout Illinois from 9 to 11 a.m. Teleconference and PowerPoint presentations will be used to detail SOD hosts, symptoms, and epidemiology, as well as the detection and response protocol for Illinois. Brief updates about several invasive pests of trees will also be provided.
Additional information about this program, as well as training sites, will be published on the Illinois Master Gardener Web site (http://www.extension.uiuc.edu/mg/) in January 2005.