WVDA confirms infected rhododendron shipments

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Rhododendron Catawbiense grows wild on the rim of the New River Gorge. Photo courtesy Rick Burgess.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has confirmed that some plants shipped to Rural King stores in West Virginia are being recalled because of the plant disease Phytophthora ramorum.

Rural King stores have agreed to initiate a voluntary recall of rhododendron plants from affected stores, according to Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

“If you purchased a rhododendron from Rural King between March and May of this year, you should monitor the plant for signs of disease, including leaf spots and shoot dieback,” Leonhardt said.

“If you believe you have infected plants, please reach out to the Department.”

Approximately 110 rhododendron plants from the infected nursery were shipped to West Virginia retailers. Rural King has voluntarily disposed of 38 of the 110 plants. At least 17 other states also received shipments.

Plants can be destroyed by burning, deep burial, or double bagging the plant with its roots in heavy-duty trash bags for disposal in a landfill.

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Make sure to sanitize all garden tools with either 10 percent bleach or 70 percent ethanol, Leonhardt said.

If you have any questions about Phytophthora ramorum, contact the WVDA Plant Industries Division at 304-558-2212.

For more information .

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