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Sun Sep 17, 2017, 08:44 PM

Key swamp tree faces extinction by beetle; guacamole, root beer supply at risk (al.com)

By Ben Raines | braines@al.com

A massive extinction event is unfolding before our eyes in the heart of America’s Amazon, where a fungus carried by an invasive beetle from China is wiping out the native redbay, one of the most common trees in wetlands across Alabama and the southeastern United States.

Redbay trees, common from Virginia to Louisiana, are succumbing to a disease known as laurel wilt, characterized by the sudden transformation of the tree’s glossy dark green leaves. Once stricken, all of the leaves on the tree wilt on the stems, turning a deep mahogany color as the tree chokes to death.

The disease showed up in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the famed America's Amazon, in recent months, and has spread with gathering speed.

A survey cruise by AL.com through our coastal rivers and the Delta revealed dead trees along every waterway, and in every wetland. Laurel wilt, as the disease is known, has shown up with a vengeance in the last few months. It hits members of the laurel family, which also includes both sassafras and avocado trees. So far, there appears to be no way to stop it. That’s a frightening prospect for another reason, as sassafras roots are used to make root beer. In one fell swoop, a single disease could potentially wipe out redbay, and threaten U.S. production of both guacamole and root beer.

Florida’s avocado growers are on red alert, as the disease has already killed almost all of the redbay trees in Georgia and South Carolina, where the disease was first discovered nearly a decade ago. Moving south, it appears to be on a collision course with the Sunshine State’s avocado groves.
more: http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2017/09/post_104.html

Informative article, with nice pix by the author.

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Reply Key swamp tree faces extinction by beetle; guacamole, root beer supply at risk (al.com) (Original post)
eppur_se_muova Sep 2017 OP
AnotherDreamWeaver Sep 2017 #1
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2017 #2

Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 11:40 PM

2. Yikes.....thanks for this..I had not heard about it

and the trees are in our area as well.

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