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Sudden oak disease found in rhododendrons in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A plant pathogen that causes the tree-killing disease known as sudden oak death has been found in Missouri.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri Department of Agriculture says it has found ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in the state. The rhododendrons were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX.

Agriculture officials are urging those who bought rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June to dispose of them immediately. There is no treatment for the pathogen.

The plant disease has infected plants and trees _ and killed oak trees_ in California and Oregon, and has also been identified in several Midwestern states.

Sudden oak death poses no threats to humans, animals or food sources.

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