Laurel Wilt Continues to Move West

Laurel wilt, a devastating disease of red bay and sassafras trees that is transmitted by the red bay ambrosia beetle, was found recently in Panama City in the Florida panhandle. Initial symptoms of laurel wilt are a reddish or purplish discoloration of wilted foliage on infected trees. When the bark is removed, black discoloration is observed in the outer sapwood, and beetle damage is evident. Although neither the ambrosia beetle nor the disease have not yet been found in Louisiana, residents should be on the alert for them. It is extremely important that people avoid moving firewood as this is a great way to spread this insect/disease complex.

More information on this insect/disease complex is available in the Internet at

To learn about the dangers associated with the movement of firewood, visit the Web site

Distribution of laurel wilt as of August 19, 2010.

Vascular staining of sapwood of infected redbay. (Photo credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,


About Don Ferrin

I am an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Plant Patholgy & Crop Physiology with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. I have statewide responsibility for issues and educational programs related to diseases of all horticultural crops in Louisiana.
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1 Response to Laurel Wilt Continues to Move West

  1. Allen Owings says:

    Will try to find you some samples. Saw in Tifton, GA but I see that location is not indicated on the map.

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