Last week the NC Forest Service announced the detection of laural wilt in New Hanover County.
“This is not a good thing. This disease is devastating to red bay and other plants in the laural family. It was identified in an area near the western edge of Wilmington.
The disease has been identified across the southeast portion of SC, GA and FL. In NC it was first discovered in 2011, and we know that it is spreading. It was introduced into a tree by the non native red bay beetle. The female beetle bores into the bark of the tree and infects it with a fungus. The fungus blocks the movement of the water from the tree roots, eventually the tree will wilt and die from lack of water. The fungus is very fast acting, trees die within a month.
The trees are not good for firewood either but only onsite. If you take it or dispose of it in another place, the beetles inside will spread the disease further.
This is going to be a potential problem because in NC there are several bushes in the laurel family. We are seeing a lot of invasive species in every state in the US. These pests are becoming more prevalent. Just like the kudzu bug that came in on an airplane to Atlanta. We have asked Congress to give money to each state to help deal with these invasive species.
If you think you may have an issue with this disease, there is information on line at www.ncforestservice.gov ”