Laurel wilt is caused by a fungus that is spread by the wood-boring ambrosia beetle, both are considered exotic, invasive species. Mainly affecting redbay laurel, sassafras, spicebush and avocado trees, it is beginning to make further encroachment into the Bluegrass State.
Dr. Ellen Crocker, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources says,
“The early signs might be wilting of leaves, hence the name Laurel Wilt, as well as early fall leaf color. The trees will have a beautiful red color, like fall foliage color, except extremely early. That's actually a sign of water stress to the tree. The fungus in there is clogging it up and stopping the circulation of water.” The best way to prevent laurel wilt from spreading is not to move firewood or other potentially contaminated plants,” said Crocker. “For firewood, buy local and burn local..." For more information on laurel wilt disease, visit https://forestry.ca.uky.edu/laurel-wilt. To register for the free trainings, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/LWD2021. Contact: Ellen Crocker, firstname.lastname@example.org