article By David L. Miller,USA TODAY A new fungus is causing problems in California’s cherry and greatwood saplings.
Researchers say the fungus can cause a range of health problems including damage to the sapling’s leaves and needles, as well as death.
The fungus, called Chrysanthemum sp., was first discovered in Oregon, and the USDA and state regulators have warned of a potential health crisis.
“There are already indications that it could affect the future health of many of these trees,” said Mike Williams, the chief agricultural economist for the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Williams and his colleagues are now testing samples from the saplings and have begun working to identify the fungus in a controlled environment.
Williams says that he is confident the sapphire and greatleaf varieties of cherry and Greatwood will be fine, but that it’s hard to know how widespread the fungus is until samples are taken.
The agency has warned that “any damage to saplings is a public health hazard.”
Williams says it’s important to recognize that this is a new fungus, and that it will take time for samples to be analyzed.