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Sudden oak death jumps quarantine

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7:37pm, March 21, 2004

The funguslike microbe that has swiftly killed coast live oaks and other trees in northern California and Oregon has bypassed containment measures and turned up in nurseries to the south, officials announced earlier this month.

During a survey of commercial nurseries, California state pathologists found the sudden oak death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, first on camellias at a Monrovia Nursery site east of Los Angeles and then on camellias at Specialty Plants nursery in San Diego County. Samples from other nurseries are also being tested. Pathologists called the Southern California sightings of the pathogen "unexpected" because the dry climate there seemed unfriendly to a funguslike pest.

The announcement raised alarms across the country because California nurseries ship plants nationwide. The states of Georgia and Florida, for example, banned nursery-plant imports from California.

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