Help track – and slow -- Sudden Oak Death, April 9-10
Sudden Oak Death, a fungus-like mold that is ravaging coastal California’s beautiful live oaks, is now widespread in regional parks from El Sobrante to Oakland. The disease is carried mainly by native bay trees, and this winter's rains are likely to spread it.
The pathogen affects large oaks -- the name comes from how quickly they can die. Massive infestations of beetles and fungi sometimes cause trees to snap off at the base even before the leaves turn brown.
There is no cure, but some things can be done to slow the spread and protect high-value or high-risk trees -- for example in parks or near homes. Most of these must be done before a tree is infected.
Working with UC Berkeley’s Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, community organizations including Berkeley Partners for Parks , Friends of Five Creeks, Friends of Sausal Creek, and Garber Park Stewards are helping to track the pathogen.
1. Attend a free one-hour training and get survey materials. Sign up on this web site for the training at 1:30 PM Sat., April 9, in room 2060 Life Sciences Bulding on the UC Berkeley campus (easy access by BART and bus). Training also is available at 10 AM April 9 at the Orinda Public Library Garden Room (no signup needed, but contact email@example.com for information).
2. Look for infected bay leaves at locations of your choice over the weekend. This can be your own back yard, an easy stroll, or a challenging hike. We'll suggest locations if you like.
3. Return suspect samples to an on-campus drop box by Sunday evening, Apr. 10.
After laboratory testing, results will be posted on an online database and Google Earth. A community meeting will discuss results and what can be done.
For more information about the survey, or if your group is interested in surveying a specific park or neighborhood, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on SOD blitz surveys at other spots around the Bay, information and training for protecting specific trees, or general information on sudden oak death, go to www.sodblitz.org.