Jan 9, 2004
Ralstonia UpdateSource: Various

With the recent reported case of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 brought to the industry’s attention last week, there have been a number of reports coming in from all over the country. Outlets, including SAF, AHPIS as well as GPN, all over the country have been keeping up with the information. However, there is not a lot of information that has been officially confirmed. But, we plan to stay on top of this happening so we can inform you as soon as possible to keep the industry abreast of the situation.


In a report sent out by The Plant Protection and Quarantine Center for Plant Health Science and Technology laboratory in Beltsville, Md., states that it has confirmed Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 in geraniums from one commercial greenhouse in New York, in rooted cuttings of the Americana Coral variety on December 31, 2003, and in direct-shipped material from the Goldsmith Plants facility in Guatemala of the Americana Bright Red variety on January 2, 2004.


The rooted plants were received via Glass Corners Greenhouse, Grand Haven Mich., where this pathogen was eradicated in early 2003; however, the New York State greenhouse was not implicated at that time. During that time geraniums infected with Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 caused the USDA/APHIS to put a hold on approximately 921 greenhouses in 47 States, resulting in the finding of the disease and causing the destruction of almost two million plants in 127 facilities.


Goldsmith Plants Inc. has voluntarily quarantined all of its greenhouses in Guatemala and suspended shipments of geranium cuttings from those greenhouses. APHIS is in the process of notifying Guatemala that further importations of geranium cuttings from the Goldsmith facility will be prohibited until further notice. APHIS and representatives from Goldsmith are currently in Guatemala inspecting the facility to develop a plan of action. Currently there has been a hold put on all geranium orders at Glass Corners Greenhouse and the New York greenhouse until suspect plants are destroyed and the greenhouses disinfected. Also, the state of Florida is asking all growers that receive cuttings of geraniums be inspected immediately and continue inspections every quarter until further notice.


At this time approximately 300-400 customers have already received geraniums of the suspect varieties from Goldsmith’s facilities in Guatemala. APHIS, in cooperation with State Departments of Agriculture, are notifying customers and assuring that appropriate actions are taken to destroy suspect plants and disinfect facilities. Goldsmith is offering to reimburse greenhouse owners for the two varieties mentioned above, as well as Cherry Rose II, which was also produced in the same Guatemalan facility.


Please keep in mind, “APHIS is following established procedure and is currently in fact-finding mode. SAF is monitoring the process and will inform the industry as soon as more information becomes available,” said SAF president Terrill Nell.


For more information on the disease or if you suspect you may have a problem, please visit APHIS at www.aphis.usda.gov or contact SAF at (800) 336-4743 or Goldsmith Plants at (408) 847-8401.

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