Bloedel Reserve Joins Sentinal Plant Network

In November 2011, the Reserve joined the Sentinel Plant Network (SPN), a collaboration between the American Public Garden Association and the National Plant Diagnostic Network (part of the USDA), whose purpose is to extend the NPDN’s “First Detector” training to the diverse plant collections and public outreach programs of the APGA’s over 500 member gardens.

First Detectors are people trained in spotting and reporting potential high-consequence invasive pests and diseases. This training was implemented by the USDA via the NPDN to promote the early detection of invasive pests and diseases and First Detectors have access to the NPDN’s network of diagnostic labs for rapid screening of potential exotic plant pests.

By participating in the Sentinel Plant Network, the Reserve can help slow or even prevent the spread of these and other plant pests and diseases. With several thousand visitors each year and an Internet presence through Facebook, Twitter, and its blog, the Reserve, like other gardens in the SPN, is in a prime position to educate the public on this topic. Every person educated becomes another pair of eyes. More eyes means greater success at stopping the spread of invasive pests and diseases.

Horticulturist/Pathologist Darren Strenge attended training to be a First Detector at a Sentinel Plant Network conference in Southern California in November

After joining the SPN, the Reserve was invited to send two employees to its western regional workshop last December at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. Andy Navage, Director of Horticulture, and Darren Strenge, Horticulturist/Pathologist, were selected to attend this workshop, fully funded by the APGA, and receive training as First Detectors and to educate others as First Detectors.

Topics covered at the workshop included monitoring and diagnosing pests, submitting samples to a laboratory, photography, and pest and disease scenarios. Individual high-consequence pests and diseases that we may expect in our region were discussed as well. Participants at the workshop came from public gardens in Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, and Arizona.

Two of the high-consequence invasive pests and diseases we might encounter at the Reserve in the future (we don’t have them here yet!) are Sudden Oak Death and Asian Longhorn Beetle. Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) has a broad host range. On most hosts it is usually not fatal and is called Ramorum Blight but produces abundant spores to spread infection. It is, however, potentially devastating to many oaks and related species. At the Reserve we are most concerned about it affecting our Canyon Live Oak and Tanoak, located in the meadow above the moss garden. Other species at the Reserve that could be affected by this disease include Rhododendron, Camellia, Douglas-fir, Madrone, Bigleaf Maple, California Bay Laurel, and Huckleberry.

The Asian Longhorn Beetle is a "high-consequence" pest for the Pacific Northwest, capable of infecting a wide range of hardwood trees

Asian Longhorn Beetle (Anaplophora glabripennis), also called the Starry Sky Beetle, is capable of causing significant losses in forest and landscape hardwood trees. The adult female carves a small depression in the bark of a tree and lays a single egg in it. When the larva hatches out, it burrows into the tree, creating tunnels thought the tree as it eats the wood. Enough larvae feeding within the tree can kill the tree. Known tree hosts for this pest include maple, horse chestnut, katsura, aspen, cherry, elm, willow, sycamore, ash, and mountain ash. All except sycamore are can be found at the Reserve.

Darren and Andy will be providing training to the Reserve’s horticulture staff and more than 100 volunteers this spring, and will be participating in training other public gardens’ horticulture staff at the regional meeting of the Pacific Northwest Garden Conservancy meeting in the fall.

Click here for website and links to fact sheets about invasive pests and diseases.

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