Laurel wilt disease is an invasive disease complex caused by the fungal pathogen Raffaelea lauricola that is vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle. It is a threat to all species in the Lauraceae family, which includes redbay, sassafras, and spicebush. Redbay ambrosia beetles carry the fungus and transmit fungal spores to host plants when they bore into plant tissue. The fungus infects the plant’s vascular system and causes leaves to wilt and turn brown. Tree mortality occurs soon after being infected. In Virginia, this disease could impact redbay trees in the southeast, and sassafras trees statewide.
|Biology, Ecology, and Management of Laurel Wilt Disease and the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle||SREF-FH-006|
Southern Regional Extension Forestry Forest Health publication discusses in depth the current distribution, plant hosts, beetle identification, symptoms, disease cycle, impacts, and management of laurel wilt.
USDA Forest Service Pest Alert publication about laurel wilt discusses symptoms, disease process, hosts, detection, and management.
|Laurel Wilt (Raffaelea lauricola and Xyleborus glabratus)|
Don’t Move Firewood website provides additional information about laurel wilt and the redbay ambrosia beetle.