Research Areas: Diseases

Scientists specializing in diseases

Redbay tree infected with the fungus causing laurel wilt disease
Redbay tree infected with the fungus causing laurel wilt disease

Diseases caused by insect-pathogen complexes (e.g., laurel wilt, thousand cankers disease), sudden oak death, and the continued challenges posed by chestnut blight and Phytophthora root disease to restoration of American chestnut, are only a few recent examples illustrating the need to maintain expertise in forest pathology. Unit scientists are currently working on etiology and epidemiology of laurel wilt on redbay, sassafras and other related species in the southeastern USA. They are developing phytosanitary log treatments and characterizing fungi associated with thousand cankers disease killing walnut trees in the southeastern US; studying the biology and management of plant parasitic nematodes killing seedlings in forest tree nurseries; and, studying the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) for improving seedling quality.

Unit scientists have also been involved in investigating shoot blight of hemlock, sugarberry/hackberry decline, problems with redbud, oak dieback/decline, sweetgum dieback, and numerous other problems.