The bundled nursery survey is a cooperative effort by Clemson-DPI and USDA-APHIS-PPQ to protect South Carolina’s horticulture industry and preserve a safe and healthy environment. The nursery survey utilizes DPI field staff that visit nurseries on a regular basis, inspecting for regulatory compliance. In 2014, inspectors will be conducting visual observations at 70 locations throughout the state for citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus), white wax scale (Ceroplastes destructor), Japanese wax scale (Ceroplastes japonicas), ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), and giant African land snail (Lissachatina fulica). Inspectors will also look for symptoms of boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum), ramorum blight (Phytophthora ramorum), and southern wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum Race 3 Biovar 2) at 35 locations.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture states that the nursery industry is the second largest agricultural industry in South Carolina with cash receipts estimated to be over 300 million dollars. This important industry has grown significantly and is extremely important to the overall economy of South Carolina. Over 15% of cash receipts in South Carolina are accounted for by lawn grass, landscape plants and flowers, ornamental horticulture and turf. The nursery survey allows for early detection and rapid response of invasive pests that threaten industry in South Carolina.
In addition to protecting horticulture, the nursery survey guards our natural landscapes from invasive species that may be introduced through the nursery trade. For example, the fungal pathogen Phytophthora ramorum causes foliar blight on common nursery stock that is not necessarily fatal. However, if these host plants are then shipped, sold, and planted, the pathogen could escape to our forests and cause the bleeding cankers in oak trees known as sudden oak death.