ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Sudden oak death is a scary-sounding disease and it can affect more than just oak trees. The disease has been confirmed in the metro St. Louis area. It was recently found in plants stocked at nurseries on both the St. Louis and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River.
Missouri Department of Conservation Community Forester Mark Grueber says the disease is caused by a fungus-like pathogen. It was first recognized in California in the mid-1990s. It has since has killed millions of oak trees in California and Oregon.
The same pathogen can cause diseases in other plants. These include rhododendrons and lilacs. It has not yet been found in local oaks.