This is the name given to a disease caused by a group of fungi called Phytophthora. It was first noted in oak trees in California in the 1990s, but is now widespread across the globe, affecting a wide range of plants. First discovered in Parc Cefn Onn in 2004, it has now affected more than thirty plants across the park.
How is it carried?
One of the primary carriers of the disease in the UK is the wild Rhododendron, R. ponticum, and its variants.
Progress of the disease
The disease’s progress is being monitored by Plant Health Inspectors at FERA and diseased plants have been removed and safely disposed of to reduce further spread, as required by current disease control legislation. Strict control measures introduced in the winter of 2008/9 are intended to ensure that the disease is brought under control and does not spread into local gardens and other parks.
A five year clearance programme is currently being undertaken to prevent the spread of infection to park trees and surrounding areas. The Plant Health Inspectors will advise when the disease is under control and replanting can take place. In the meantime, please read the signs you will see around the park, and do your best to do what they say.