UACES Facebook Laurel Wilt Disease in Arkansas

Laurel Wilt in Arkansas

Laurel wilt (Raffaelea lauricola sp. nov. T.C. Harr., Fraedrich & Aghayeva (Ascomycota: Ophiostomatales)) is a disease caused by a fungal pathogen affecting many plants in the laurel family (Lauraceae).  The laurel wilt fungus is native to Asia and apparently entered the U.S. in solid wood packing material infested with redbay ambrosia beetles (Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff (Coleoptera: Curculionidea: Scolytinae)) which carry the fungus.  The disease was first confirmed in Arkansas in 2015.  Some trees or shrubs in the laurel family are more susceptible than others, although susceptibility of the different laurels is not well understood yet.  Three trees and shrubs from the laurel family currently grow in Arkansas:  sassafras (Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees), northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume), and southern spicebush (Lindera melissifolia (Walter) Blume).

Redbay killed by laurel wilt disease

What is laurel wilt disease?

  • Laurel wilt disease is a fungal disease spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle
  • The laurel wilt disease fungus is believed to be native to Asia
  • Sassafras is Arkansas’s only native tree susceptible to laurel wilt disease
  • Laurel wilt disease was first identified in North America around Savannah, GA, in 2002
  • Laurel wilt disease was first identified in Arkansas in 2015

Image courtesy of James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

Read more about laurel wilt disease
 Symptoms of laurel wilt disease

What are the symptoms of laurel wilt disease?

  • Leaves in the upper crown droop and turn reddish to purplish
  • In later stages the entire crown wilts
  • Stiff strings of “sawdust” protruding from the bark
  • Redbay ambrosia beetle galleries immediately under the bark
  • Dark fungal infections in the sapwood

Image courtesy of Ronald F. Billings, Texas A&M Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Read more about the symptoms of laurel wilt disease
 Redbay ambrosia beetles

Who spreads laurel wilt disease?

  • Laurel wilt disease is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle, a native of Asia
  • Redbay ambrosia beetle probably came to the U.S. in solid wood packing material
  • People move laurel wilt disease by moving logs infested with redbay ambrosia beetles

Image courtesy of R. Scott Cameron, Advanced Forest Protection, Inc., Bugwood.org

Find out more about how laurel wilt disease is spread
 Sassafras

How will laurel wilt disease affect you?

  • Loss of sassafras from our ecosystems and yards
  • Loss of the endangered pondberry
  • Even though they are not an Arkansas crop, potential loss of avocados from store shelves

Image courtesy of Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org

Learn more about the impact of laurel wilt disease on you
 Redbay ambrosia beetle damage

What can we do about laurel wilt disease?

  • Don’t move sassafras wood with bark still attached
  • Report sassafras showing laurel wilt disease symptoms to your county extension agent
  • Currently there is no treatment for laurel wilt disease

Image courtesy of Ronald F. Billings, Texas A&M Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Learn to prevent the spread of laurel wilt disease

 Map of laurel wilt disease infested US counties

Where is laurel wilt disease?

  • Laurel wilt disease is native to Asia
  • Laurel wilt is spread through the Atlantic coastal plain from North Carolina to Georgia
  • Laurel wilt disease is spread through most of Florida
  • Laurel wilt occurs at scattered sites in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas

Image courtesy of Chip Bates, Georgia Forestry Commission

Find the locations of laurel wilt disease infestations

 

Resources

Documents

A Fungal Symbiont of the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle Causes a Lethal Wilt in Redbay and Other Lauraceae in the Southeastern United States

Biology, Ecology, and Management of Laurel Wilt and the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle

Distribution and Spread of Laurel Wilt Disease in Georgia

Ecological Implications of Laurel Wilt Infestations on Everglades Tree Islands, Southern Florida

Effect of Propiconazole on Laurel Wilt Disease Development in Redbay Trees and on the Pathogen In Vitro

First Report of Xyleborus glabratus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) and Laurel Wilt in Louisiana, USA The Disease Continues Westward on Sassafras

Forest and Shade Tree Pests: Laurel Wilt

Isolations from the redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, confirm that the laurel wilt pathogen, Raffaelea lauricola, originated in Asia

Laurel Wilt: A New and Devasting Disease of Redbay Caused by a Fungal Symbiont of the Exotic Redbay Ambrosia Beetle

Laurel Wilt: A New Forest Disease in Florida

Laurel Wilt: An Invasive Pest of Sassafras in Arkansas FSA5033

Laurel Wilt, A Deadly Killer of Lauraceae in the U.S.

Videos

Laurel Wilt in Florida

Laurel Wilt Disease in Trees

Web Sites

An Undefended Buffett: The Unneccessary Extinction of the Redbay, a Defining Southern Tree

Texas Invasive Species Institute: Laurel Wilt

Southern Regional Extension Forestry: Laurel Wilt

A Brief Summary of Laurel Wilt Disease in Florida and the Southeastern United States

Don't Move Firewood: Laurel Wilt

Leaves As a Clue: Surveying for Laurel Wilt Disease

First Report of Laurel Wilt, Caused by Raffaelea lauricola, on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in South Carolina

First Report of Laurel Wilt Caused by Raffaelea lauricola on Sassafras in Mississippi