This blog is to alert you to be on the lookout for the dreaded Laurel Wilt Disease that’s been attacking our native Red Bay trees. Also susceptible to this pest is the Swamp Bay, Sassafras, and Camphor; and may also be attacking Avocado trees.
Now it is in our area and spreading. It’s been reported to be attacking trees in Tomoka and Bulow Creek State Parks and has been confirmed in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet, Casselberry, and Orlando.
This disease is caused by a fungus carried by Ambrosia Beetles. The beetles attack the trees by burrowing into the wood, and in doing so, bring the fungus inside the sapwood. Once infected, the tree’s leaves will turn brown, and ultimately result in the death of the tree. There is NO cure for this pest at the present time. Unfortunately, once infected, a tree will die, usually within weeks. State officials are currently experimenting with various treatments to control this pest. If you suspect any of your trees may have this problem, I suggest you notify your local extension office. If confirmed, have the infected tree removed ASAP to avoid further spread. Also, don’t save the wood for your fireplace as it will be harboring this pest. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.