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Plant pathologists offer new perspective on oak wilt

Plant disease experts will come together to share insight on oak wilt at two events held during the annual meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS), July 30 – Aug. 3 in Austin, Texas.

A forest pathology field trip will begin Friday, July 29 in the Edward's Plateau region of central Texas where a destructive oak wilt epidemic has made this disease the most serious plant disease in the state. The field trip concludes in Austin on Saturday, July 30.

An oak wilt symposium, "Speculation on the Origin and Spread of Ceratocystis fagacearum, Causal Organism of Oak Wilt" will be held Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the Austin Convention Center.

"Plant pathologists from across the country will be in Austin to talk about this disease that has become a devastating epidemic to Texas forests," said Dave Appel, field trip organizer and forest pathologist at Texas A&M University, College Station. "This is a great opportunity to share knowledge and present new ideas on how to manage this disease," he said.

Oak wilt, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is an aggressive disease that can kill trees within one year after infection. In the 60 years since oak wilt was first discovered in the U.S., neither the disease nor the pathogen have been found outside the geographic range roughly extending from Minnesota to Texas on the west, and eastward through Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Although the highest level of oak wilt research activity occurred during the two decades following its discovery, significant research is still being conducted. Substantial resources have been spent on large-scale oak wilt suppression programs, with the most recent in Texas.

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a non-profit, professional scientific organization. The research of the organization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.

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