Rapid Ohia Death Information and Alerts

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 in Main

A highly virulent disease is spreading through Hawaii’s ohia forests on Hawaii Island.  As researchers try to determine how to control the disease, residents on other islands are being asked to look out for any similar symptoms and report it as soon as possible.

The fast-spreading fungus is referred to as Ohia wilt (Ceratocystis fimbriata), also referred to as Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), and it causes the crowns of mature ohia trees to turn yellow, then brown and die within days to weeks. The fungus also causes dark, nearly black, staining in the sapwood along the outer margin of trunks.

View the Quarantine Rules on the movement of Ohia and soil



Residents on Hawaii Island with questions regarding the disease should contact:

Dr. Flint Hughes, Ph.D., 
Research for Pacific Islands Forestry
USDA Forest Service
60 Nowelo Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
(808) 933-8121 ext. 117

Residents on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai who suspect the wilt is affecting their ohia trees may submit samples through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Plant Quarantine Branch offices on each island.

Instructions for collecting and submitting samples:

  1. Sanitize cutting tools prior to and after taking samples.
  2. Make a ½ inch side cut into the trunk beneath the bark of suspicious tree. If black streaking is visible on the trunk, take a sample from that area. Sample should be 4 – 6 inches long and 1/2 inch in thickness. Place sample in a ziploc bag (quart or gallon size bag). If possible, collect soil from to 1 inch from different points, north, south, east and west, around the affected tree and place in a ziploc bag. Soil samples may be consolidated into one bag.
  1. Clip tree saplings (<6” tall) and placed in separate ziploc bags from the trunk sample. If possible, collect soil from different points, north, south, east and west, around the affected tree sapling and place in a separate ziploc bag.
  1. Label each ziploc bag with the following information:

mailing address
telephone number
tree location (or address)
age of tree, if known
variety, if known
indicate if potted, in ground or from forested area
date of collection
email (optional)

  1. If possible, indicate where the tree was originally obtained (i.e., garden shop name, friend, other island,) record that information on ziploc bag.
  1. Drop off or mail sample to the local Plant Quarantine office:
Plant Quarantine Branch
1849 Auiki Street
Honolulu, HI 96818
(808) 832-0566
Maui or Molokai
Plant Quarantine Branch
635 Mua Street
Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 873-3962
Plant Quarantine Branch
4398A Pua Loke Street
Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 241-7135
Hawaii Island
Plant Quarantine Branch
Hilo Airport
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
(808) 961-9393

                 Identification will take 2-3 weeks to complete.

Early detection is the key to stopping the spread of this serious disease.

Do not take ohia wood, ohia products or soil from infested areas to non-infested areas.

If you have questions regarding the transport of ohia, please contact your nearest HDOA Plant Quarantine office.

Mahalo for your attention and assistance!

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