Laurel Wilt: a new and devastating disease of redbay caused by a fungal symbiont of the exotic redbay Ambrosia beetle
The mysterious death of redbay Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.) trees on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and surrounding areas was first reported in local newspapers in 2003. Thousands of redbays were dying in the low country of South Carolina, and by the end of 2004 officials on Hilton Head were estimating that they had lost 75-80% of the island's redbays. Many theories were initially advanced for the mortality including the role of beetles and the influence of drought followed by above average rainfall during the late 199s and early 2000s.