Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death
Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) or ʻŌhiʻa Wilt is a newly identified fungal disease currently attacking and killing hundreds of thousands of ʻōhiʻa on Hawaiʻi Island. ROD is comprised of two pathogens, Ceratocystis lukuohia (the aggressive “destroyer of Ohia”) and C. huliohia (the less aggressive “disruptor of Ohia). These fungi disrupt the movement of water through the xylem tissue to the foliage. This results in the wilting of leaves and rapid death of ʻōhiʻa within a few days to a few weeks. ʻŌhiʻa is the keystone species and most abundant native tree in Hawaiian forests ROD has the potential to cause major ecosystem disturbances that will negatively impact watersheds, cultural traditions, natural resources, and quality of life.
Crowns of affected ʻōhiʻa trees turn chlorotic (yellow) and subsequently brown within days to weeks. Dead leaves typically remain on branches for some time. Occasionally, leaves of single branches or limbs turn brown before the rest of the crown becomes brown. Trees within a given stand appear to die in a haphazard pattern; the disease does not appear to radiate out from infected trees or dead trees. In dead ʻōhiʻa trees, the presence of the fungus, Ceratocystis, is always accompanied by dark-almost black-radial staining in the outer xylem of the cut trunk. Freshly cut wood infected with Ceratocystis may give off a fruity odor similar to rotting bananas.
Arborjet recommends a preventative trunk injection with Propizol® (propiconazole) fungicide using systemic injection equipment. This treatment provides protection for up to two years. Trees with less than 25% crown symptoms can be treated. To increase the resilience of the tree, a follow up application of PHOSPHO-jet™, NutriRoot® or MN-jet Fe™ is recommended. An application of TREE-äge®, TREE-äge G4, or TREE-äge R10 should also be considered to deal with the potential ambrosia beetle vector.
Header Image: J.B. Friday, Hawaii Forestry Extension
Ohia Forest affected by ROD: Ivy Ashe, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
ROD killed Ohia (L); Healthy Ohia (R): University of Hawaii – Manoa
ROD staining under bark: J.B. Friday, Hawaii Forestry Extension
Typical staining with sapwood caused by ROD: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
TREE-äge® Insecticide is a Restricted Use Pesticide and must only be sold to and used by a state certified applicator or by persons under their direct supervision.