- Author: Matteo M. Garbelotto
One of the greatest assets of our State is no doubt the vastness and richness of our natural environment. Unfortunately, such vastness is constantly being eroded by both natural and human-induced events. Sudden Oak Death aka SOD is one of those environmental threats belonging to the second category, having been introduced in the latter part of last century from an unknown location outside of North America. Many of our tree species are susceptible to SOD and several oak species and tanoaks can be killed in large numbers: in the worst sites 70-100% of trees are dead.
Since its introduction, the disease has been spreading slowly but steadily and now it is present in 15 contiguous counties from Humboldt to Monterey: in about 15 years of research we have found several effective control measures, but these need to be applied before oaks are infected. Oaks become at risk exclusively if the disease is within 200 yards from them!! That is the good news.
For the past 9 years citizens like you have been helping, and this help has resulted in the identification of several new outbreaks and in the eradication of some of these outbreaks. If your county is not extensively colonized by the disease, your effort will allow to exactly pinpoint its current distribution. This means knowing where extra care is warranted to avoid further spreading SOD, and knowing where business and leisure can be enjoyed without risking further disease spread. The volunteer-generated database is the most complete database for a forest disease anywhere in the world, including almost 20.000 points.
If you join a SOD BLITZ you:
- Will spend one hour learning the basic biology of the disease and how to identify it in the field, making you an expert
- Receive all the necessary collection materials and instructions on how to sample. Note that sampling has to happen 1-2 days after the training
- Spend 1-4 hours on your own in a location of your choice (your property, business, favorite forest or campground) looking for disease symptoms and collecting symptomatic leaves
- The activity is enjoyed by adults and children, btw it is a great school project
- You will become officially a citizen scientist and your published disease distribution data will help save our oaks. All at no cost to you
- Tree care specialists attending the training can bring in clients' samples
The SOD Blitz is in the spring because that is the time when SOD symptoms are easiest to spot. You can join and then sample wherever you desire in coastal California.
Date of SOD Blitz: May 30th, 10-11 am
- Graton—Graton Community Club, Main and N. Edison, Graton, CA
- Santa Rosa—Spring Lake Park Environment Discovery Center, 393 Violetti Road Park Entrance, Santa Rosa, CA
- Cloverdale—Cloverdale Historical Society, 215 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, CA
- Author: Karen Giovannini
2014 Annual Report letter from Stephanie Larson, County Director and Livestock & Range Management Advisor:
As we move into the next 100 years of Cooperative Extension, we continue to value the public/ private partnerships that have been the foundation of our organization, raising the bar by supporting the County of Sonoma Initiatives on local agriculture and healthy communities. UCCE advisors are critical partners with local farmers and ranchers, providing scientific-based information on techniques that can be used to increase production and thus increase economic stability, while addressing environmental concerns.
This past year, UCCE conducted research and provided educational programs to help commercial row crop farmers and livestock producers in Sonoma County deal with drought and climate change. Our frost tower research in vineyards evaluated methods for making the most of local water resources through increased irrigation efficiency. Water conservation programs are also focused on the urban gardener, partnering with the Sonoma County Water Agency to educate the public on how to use less water; and with the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to develop an evaluation tool for documenting ecosystem services that have been maintained or increased through implementing conservation easements and proper rangeland management.
We partnered with other county departments to increase access to healthy, local, sustainable food. One outcome was the County Land for Food Production (CLFP) project; which allowed UCCE to work on creating an incubator farm on county land. These efforts are aimed at increasing access to land for food production, and the number of farmers and ranchers growing local food, respectively. The goals align with the Sonoma County Healthy and Sustainable Food Action Plan. Our Agricultural Ombudsman played a critical role in assisting individuals who want to create or expand their farming and ranching enterprises, and is currently working with PRMD to address local poultry processing.
Learn about these programs and more in our 2014 Annual Report.
- Author: Lisa Bell
On Saturday morning, June 28, 35 people attended a sudden oak death (SOD) educational talk and local disease update at our UCCE office. More than half of the people who attended were unfamiliar with the disease, letting us know that we continue to find new people with our outreach. In this 2-hour session, Master Gardener specialists described disease history, biology, and treatment.
Attendees left informed about what can be done for diseased trees on their property, or if they have no disease, how to avoid infection. These talks are given by the Master Gardeners at different locations around the county, periodically throughout the year and on request.
Often the first question asked is “What kind of oak is this and is it susceptible to SOD?” See photos below for common oaks of Sonoma County (click on the picture for a larger version).
Visit Sudden Oak Death for more information.
- Author: Lisa Bell
The day included UCCE experts on Forest Ecology, SOD and wildfire behavior, the status of SOD in Sonoma County, local landowner experiences with SOD management, and a private researcher who just completed a manual on managing sudden oak death. A member of the Kashia Band of the Pomo Indians described their forest management approach to SOD. Attendees learned about the complexity of redwood forest ecology; how forest fire is enhanced by standing-dead trees killed by SOD; how to manage California bay laurel trees and poison oak to lower the chance of disease spread; and that tanoak tree injection with control materials does not work. It was a practical seminar that stimulated discussion and updated land managers on what works and what doesn't work in SOD management.
Contact: Lisa Bell, Sonoma County SOD Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Maybe you know about the 4-H and Master Gardener programs, but we also have Livestock & Range Management, Viticulture, Integrated Pest Management, Specialty Crop and Marine Science advisors.
In addition, we have the Agropreneurship Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Program, the Sudden Oak Death Program, the Endangered Coho Recovery Program and an Agriculture Ombudsman.
Read all about the great work we are doing in our 2012 Annual Report.