Tree-killing fungus found in Riverside County

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Updated: 12/22/2013 1:55 am

NORCO, Calif. (AP) — A fungus that has killed trees throughout Southern California has turned up in Riverside County.

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs says the Fusarium fungus has been found near Norco. Agriculture officials say it could threaten oaks and the county's lucrative avocado crop.

The fungus is carried by a beetle that bores into trees and causes what's known as Fusarium dieback.

Akif Eskalen, a plant pathologist of the University of California, Riverside, says the fungus has been found on more than 117 different plant species in Southern California. It's infected both ornamental street trees and backyard trees.

Eskalen says he first detected in Los Angeles County last year but the fungus has spread to Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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