Ramorum foliar blight/Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum)
Phytophthora ramorum was first identified in North America in 2000 as a lethal stem canker disease of oaks and tan oaks in the central coastal range of California. In 2001, the pathogen was also found associated with ornamental nursery stock causing foliar and branch dieback to hosts such as rhododendrons, pieris, kalmia, camellia and viburnum. This pathogen can be spread in nursery stock, poses a potential threat to forest ecosystems, and could impact the movement and trade of nursery and forest products if introduced into Virginia. VDACS is currently conducting extensive statewide surveys for this pathogen in an effort to detect P. ramorum before it can become established. Early detection is vital to successful eradication efforts in the event P. ramorum is introduced. Each year approximately 1,200 P. ramorum samples are collected and tested by VDACS. These include symptomatic foliar samples as well as soil and water samples.