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Nurseries Receive Clean Bill of Health from SOD Disease
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Nurseries Receive Clean Bill of Health from SOD Disease

October 1, 2003

Contact: Cam Sivesind at (503) 682-5089 or (800) 342-6401.

Today's announcement by the Oregon Department of Agriculture that three nurseries have been declared clean and free of any plants infected with Phytophthora ramorum -- the disease that causes Sudden Oak Death syndrome -- is welcome, but not surprising, news for the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

In May, Furney's Nursery Inc., a 30-acre container nursery located in Gresham, was found to have plants infected with the European strain of the P. ramorum pathogen. In cooperation with ODA officials, the nursery -- an OAN member -- destroyed all host plant material of concern. A small load of plants delivered to a customer was tracked down and destroyed. Adjacent plant blocks and properties neighboring the nursery were tested and found to be free of the pathogen.

So it came to no surprise that a temporary quarantine on the nursery is being lifted today, freeing up Furney's to continue business as usual. It can now sell and transport plants that are regulated hosts of P. ramorum. "We expected this," said John Aguirre, executive director of the OAN. "Furney's worked closely with ODA and acted swiftly and thoroughly to deal with the incident and eradicate infected and at-risk plant material. Their reward is an official clean bill of health."

Furney's has remained operational and has been shipping plants not susceptible to the pathogen since soon after the May discovery. ODA's quarantine only limited the movement of disease-susceptible plant material. ODA also lifted quarantines on two retail operations -- one with outlets in the Portland area and the other in Jackson County in southern Oregon -- found to have plants infected with the California strain of P. ramorum. The retailers can now sell plants that are regulated hosts of P. ramorum.

The OAN applauds ODA's handling of this matter, including its quick response and its follow-up inspections that ultimately led to the issuance of the clean bill of health and the lifting of the quarantines. ODA continues to push for stricter national action regarding Sudden Oak Death, noting that in all three Oregon incidents, the infected plant material came from sources outside the state.

The OAN asks anyone importing trees and shrubs from outside the state's borders to be mindful of a temporary regulation requiring ODA notification of plant shipments -- especially high-risk material. Call (503) 986-4785 or e-mail quarantine@oda.state.or.us to notify ODA inspectors of such shipments. For more information about the quarantine, visit http://www.oda.state.or.us/plant/ppd/path/SOD/SOD_quar.html.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,600 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with 2002 sales of $727 million.

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