Plum Pox Declared Eradicated from U.S.

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At a ceremony held Thursday, October 17, Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Greg Ibach formally announced that the plum pox virus has been successfully eradicated from the U.S. AmericanHort was invited to speak at the ceremony, as was a representative of the Tuscarora tribe, whose tribal lands abut the international border in New York State. AmericanHort member Phil Baugher, of Adams County Nursery, also attended and was recognized for industry’s support of the eradication effort.

Plum pox is considered the most damaging disease of stone fruit (Prunus spp.) and may affect fruit-producing as well as landscape and naturally-occurring trees. It was first detected in North America in Pennsylvania in 1999 and later eradicated there. Limited incursions were later found in Michigan, and New York. In both cases, the commitment to eradicate was seen through.

Unfortunately, a detection in Ontario, Canada in 2000 has not been eradicated, but is subject to containment and management efforts. Concerns persist that wind-blown aphids could vector the virus across the international border into the U.S.

AmericanHort thanked federal and state plant protection officials for their vigilance, and used the opportunity to underscore the importance of the National Clean Plant Network, a system of clean plant centers and programs that enables the safe importation, pathogen testing, and release of propagative material of pome and stone fruit, grapes, berries, roses, and several other crops.

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