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.
Thousand-cankers is a fungal disease that impacts black walnut. The fungus is spread by the walnut twig beetle. Experience to date indicates that the disease cannot be treated and is fatal to black walnut.
Image: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Laurel Wilt Disease
Laurel wilt disease is a fungal disease that impacts trees and shrubs in the laurel family. In Arkansas, sassafras, spicebush, and pondberry are in the laurel family. The fungus is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle. Experience to date indicates that the disease cannot be treated and is fatal to all plants in the laurel family.
Image: Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org
Additional Invasive Pests
Find information about invasive animals.
Image: Clint Turnage, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services
Find information about invasive insects.
Image: Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Find information about invasive plants.
Image: David Teem, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
Attack of the Invasive Species A fact sheet from APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine section describing the invasive pest problems and solutions.
Invasive Pests - Plants
A poster featuring some of the invasive plants and diseases impacting Arkansas.
Invasive Pests - Animals A poster featuring some of the invasive insects and animals impacting Arkansas.
Invasive Pests - Fighting Back A poster featuring some of the things we can do to fight invasive pests.