Your shrubs could spread a disease that could kill oak trees and many others


ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) — If you got a rhododendron or lilac bush between March and May, it could be carrying a disease that could wipe out oak trees.

Walmart and Rural King have both issued a voluntary recall of the plants.

Dan Lima with the OSU Extension Office In Belmont County urges homeowners and gardeners who have gotten the plants recently to watch them for leaf spots and shoot die-back, which are signs of Sudden Oak Death.

If they show those signs, they need to be pulled up and destroyed.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recommends destroying the plant by either burning it or burying it deep in the ground.

They say simply pulling it up and tossing it on the compost pile will create more problems because the disease can still be spread.

They say you can also double bag the plant in heavy-duty trash bags and throw it out with the garbage, but only if your community allows the disposal of green material.

They say the disease can kill oak trees, maples, beech trees, horse chestnut and many others.

They say there are more than 75 plant species that can become hosts and spread the disease.

Lima said the states of California and Oregon have battled this since the 1990s.

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