Ralstonia Update

January 9, 2004 - 08:52

With the recent reported case of Ralstonia
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2
brought to
the industry's attention last week, there have been a number of reports coming
in from all over the country. Outlets, including SAF, AHPIS as well as GPN
style='color:black'>, all over the country have been keeping up with the
information. However, there is not a lot of information that has been
officially confirmed. But, we plan to stay on top of this happening so we can
inform you as soon as possible to keep the industry abreast of the situation.

In a report sent out by The Plant
Protection and Quarantine Center for Plant Health Science and Technology
laboratory in Beltsville, Md., states that it has confirmed Ralstonia
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2
in geraniums
from one commercial greenhouse in New York, in rooted cuttings of the Americana
Coral variety on December 31, 2003, and in direct-shipped material from the
Goldsmith Plants facility in Guatemala of the Americana Bright Red variety on
January 2, 2004. 

The rooted plants were received
via Glass Corners Greenhouse, Grand Haven Mich., where this pathogen was
eradicated in early 2003; however, the New York State greenhouse was not
implicated at that time. During that time geraniums infected with Ralstonia
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2
caused the
USDA/APHIS to put a hold on approximately 921 greenhouses in 47 States,
resulting in the finding of the disease and causing the destruction of almost
two million plants in 127 facilities.

Goldsmith Plants Inc. has
voluntarily quarantined all of its greenhouses in Guatemala and suspended
shipments of geranium cuttings from those greenhouses. APHIS is in the process
of notifying Guatemala that further importations of geranium cuttings from the
Goldsmith facility will be prohibited until further notice. APHIS and
representatives from Goldsmith are currently in Guatemala inspecting the facility
to develop a plan of action. Currently there has been a hold put on all
geranium orders at Glass Corners Greenhouse and the New York greenhouse until
suspect plants are destroyed and the greenhouses disinfected. Also, the state
of Florida is asking all growers that receive cuttings of geraniums be
inspected immediately and continue inspections every quarter until further
notice.

At this time approximately 300-400
customers have already received geraniums of the suspect varieties from
Goldsmith's facilities in Guatemala. APHIS, in cooperation with State
Departments of Agriculture, are notifying customers and assuring that
appropriate actions are taken to destroy suspect plants and disinfect
facilities. Goldsmith is offering to reimburse greenhouse owners for the two
varieties mentioned above, as well as Cherry Rose II, which was also produced
in the same Guatemalan facility.

Please keep in mind, "APHIS
is following established procedure and is currently in fact-finding mode. SAF
is monitoring the process and will inform the industry as soon as more
information becomes available," said SAF president Terrill Nell.

For more information on the
disease or if you suspect you may have a problem, please visit APHIS at
www.aphis.usda.gov or contact SAF at (800) 336-4743 or Goldsmith Plants at
(408) 847-8401.

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