Safe to bring California bay laurel/pepperwood to Arizona?
September 13, 2014 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Can I bring California bay laurel branches to Arizona without potentially causing an ecological problem?

I have a friend who's hosting a New Years party in Flagstaff, AZ. We are road-tripping from Northern CA, and he has asked me to bring some California bay laurel to his party so that we can all have laurel crowns. However, I am reading that the tree (shrub?) is sometimes a host of the microorganism that causes sudden oak death. I mentioned this, and he is curious if:
A.) it is safe to bring the laurels, since there are oaks and other susceptible plants native to Arizona, and
B.) if there is a way to tell if a tree is infected.
posted by pony707 to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: California Bay Laurel is listed under the Federal Domestic Quarantine for Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death). Here's the relevant entry in the California Plant Quarantine Manual. Since it is a federal quarantine, it will apply to Arizona as well.

If you go through a border station with the California bay laurel, it will be confiscated and destroyed by border agents to prevent the spread of Phytophthora.
posted by Orrorin at 3:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

Here is a diagnostic guide to determining if your tree/shrub has Sudden Oak Death. If you decide you want to get your plant lab tested, get in touch with your county agricultural commissioner. They may have the resources to do the testing, or can forward your sample to CDFA (California Dept of Food & Agriculture) to be tested there.
posted by Orrorin at 3:28 PM on September 13, 2014

he has asked me to bring some California bay laurel to his party

This is a terrible idea. Don't transport bay laurel.
posted by ryanrs at 4:49 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Orrorin, thank you for the information. I will pass it on to my friend. (I had already cautioned him that we might be springing for "laurels" instead, but he asked me to do some research.)
posted by pony707 at 7:02 PM on September 13, 2014

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