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Will Oregon's Christmas Trees Be Affected By Root Rot?

OPB | Dec. 5, 2013 12:06 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 6, 2013 8:22 a.m.

Douglas-fir Christmas trees at Sunrise Tree farm.

Douglas-fir Christmas trees at Sunrise Tree farm.

Lynne Ketchum

Maybe it’s not surprising that Oregon State University has a “Christmas Tree Specialist” on the payroll. After all, with seven million trees a year, the state leads the nation in Christmas tree production. His name is Chal Landgren, and if anyone should know whether the recent national reports about the dangers of phytophthora root rot are overblown or not, it would be him.

Landgren says when he first heard about multi-million dollar estimates of damage, he went back and looked at the study that number was based on. He says the information in the study involves a different kind of phytophthora species and included impacts to the nursery industry as well as the Christmas tree industry. 

Landgren says there all kinds of root rots, besides phytophthora, and growers in Oregon have been dealing with them for decades. We’ll talk to Landgren about the health of Oregon’s Christmas trees and what kind of threat phytophthora root rot poses to them.

Do you work in the Christmas tree industry? What questions do you have for the OSU Extension Christmas tree specialist?

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