Invasive Plant Diseases in Arkansas
Almost everyone can name at least one invasive plant disease that has impacted the forests of eastern North American and Arkansas. Here in Arkansas, Dutch elm disease ravaged urban elms. Chestnut blight reduced our native chinquapins to understory shrubs that rarely survive to maturity. Laurel wilt disease is killing our native sassafras. Unfortunately, additional diseases such as thousand-cankers disease of black walnut are on the way.
Many of these diseases are minor nuisances in their native ranges, and as a result they are often unknown to science. However, when they are unleashed in new environments, most of the plants have no natural resistance to the new disease. Diseases run wild and trees like the American chestnut are wiped out. By the time scientists identify the disease organism and its vectors, it may be too late to solve the problem.
What diseases cause problems for us? What kind of problems do they cause? What can we do about the problems these invasive diseases cause? The links below lead to information about an array of invasive diseases.
Additional Invasive Pests
Image: Clint Turnage, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services
Image: Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Image: David Teem, Auburn University, Bugwood.org