REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Walmart and Rural King stores in Ohio have initiated a voluntary recall of rhododendron plants after state agencies confirmed cases of sudden oak death caused by Phytophthora ramorum in an estimated 1,6000 rhododendron plants shipped to the Ohio retailers and at least 17 other states, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
ODA is encouraging Ohioans who recently purchased rhododendron from Walmart or Rural King to look for signs of disease — like leaf spots and shoot dieback. The agency recommends anyone who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants from either retailer between March and May to dispose of the plants, which may spread the disease.
ODA recommends destroying infected plants by burning, deep burial or double bagging the plant and root in heavy duty trash bags for disposal into a sanitary landfill. Any tools that come in contact with the affected plants should be sanitized with bleach or 91% or higher alcohol. The agency warns against composting or disposing the plant material in municipal yard waste.