St. Paul, Minn. (June 25, 2003)—The revered oak tree has been a collective favorite for thousands of years. These long-lived trees have historically been considered strong and mighty and able to withstand assault by disease, insects, and weather. But today, a rapid decline in population and an increased number of trees infected with deadly diseases has prompted plant pathologists to take a close look at this symbolic and highly celebrated tree.
Reports of local and regional episodes of oak mortality, outbreaks of new pathogens, and the expansion of known pathogens into new areas appear to be growing. One disease affecting oaks, Sudden Oak Death, has already killed tens of thousands of oaks along the California coast and has infected a growing number of other plant species. This disease has the potential to spread into other regions with potentially disastrous results.
The dangers and management strategies of these diseases are the subject of a symposium at the APS Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC, on August 9-13, 2003. According to symposium coorganizer Jennifer Juzwik, USDA Forest Service, the symposium will make natural resource managers and plant pathologists aware of current threats to this extremely valuable species and the steps needed to minimize their impact.
“The symposium will emphasize the number of current maladies of oak that are causing either loss or poor health,” Juzwik said. “We want to educate others on these diseases and create a better understanding of their impact on not only the oak population, but also on global forest ecosystems,” she said.
The oak disease symposium will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12, 2003. Members of the media are invited to attend annual meeting events and complimentary registration is available.
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a nonprofit, professional scientific organization dedicated to the study and control of plant diseases, with 5,000 members worldwide.