Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) was first detected in the Puna District on Big Island in 2010. It begins with wilting and yellowing leaves at the end of branches, then leaves on branches turn brown. Within days or a couple of weeks, the whole crown of the tree browns and dies with the dead leaves still attached.The fungus attacks the ohia tree vascular system and trees die so quickly that they retain their yellow/brown leaves.
The mortality rate for ROD infected trees is 100%, and research continues on how the fungus is spread and how to combat it. Currently, it is only known to be on Big Island and the Dept. of Agriculture has issued instructions on how to sample and submit specimens of suspect ROD trees on all islands.
_______________________________________________________________________________________ ROD Symptoms – ROD Brochure
Laboratory tests are necessary to verify the presence or absence of the fungus that caused ROD. There are a variety of things that can cause ohia trees to show symptoms of illness, from drought, old age and more. You can report sick or dying tree with the following symptoms.
- Crowns of ‘ōhi‘a trees that appear healthy turn yellowish or brown within days to weeks; dead leaves remain on branches for some time.
- All ages of ‘ōhi‘a trees can be affected and can have symptoms of browning of branches and/or leaves.
- If a tree with ROD is cut down, or a section of the tree is removed, the fungus shows up as dark staining in the sapwood along the outer edge, and there may be an over-ripe fruit-like odor.
- Trees within a given stand die in a haphazard pattern; the disease does not appear to radiate out directly from infected or dead trees.
Residents on Oahu can contact OISC at 266-7994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please take a photo (if can) of the suspect tree and note the precise location in the report.
Residents on Hawaii Island with questions regarding the disease should contact:
Dr. J.B. Friday
UH Cooperative Extension Service
Phone: (808) 969-8254
Dr. Flint Hughes
USDA Forest Service
Phone: (808) 854-2617
Dr. Lisa Keith
USDA Agriculture Research Service
Phone: (808) 959-4357