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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2005

DISEASE THREAT TO LONGLEAF PINE GREATLY EXAGGERATED

(Columbia, SC) Recent reports of a longleaf pine disease greatly exaggerate the threat, says Forestry Commission pathologist Andy Boone. Concerns over the disease originated in Louisiana and have now spread across the south.

The disease, called Leptographium, is caused by a root fungus of the same name. Boone said the fungus typically attacks the root system of trees stressed by damage or environmental factors. Unless the stress is extreme, trees generally show little or no ill effects.

According to Boone, various species of Leptographium have been known to infect southern pines for decades. “The fungi occurs naturally in the soil,” said Boone. “It’s a very weak pathogen, unlikely to kill a healthy tree.”

While the danger from Leptographium is exaggerated, Boone cautioned that pine stands should be protected from serious stress. Hot summer fires, sustained annual pine straw harvests, and soil compaction all make trees more vulnerable to infection.

Landowners who have questions about Leptographium should contact the Forestry Commission’s Insect and Disease section, 803-896-8820.

 

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Editors/News Directors

For more information, contact: Andy Boone, 803-896-8814 or Laurie Reid, 803-896-8830

 


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