- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
Sudden Oak Death
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Do we have Sudden Oak Death in San Luis Obispo County? Bob G. Paso Robles
Yes, tests have confirmed the presence of Sudden Oak Death (SOD) for the first time in San Luis Obispo County. SOD is a serious exotic disease that is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California, including coast live oak. SOD is currently found in 16 coastal counties, from San Luis Obispo to Humboldt County. The disease spreads from infected California bay laurel leaves to oaks. Management options are available but they are only effective if implemented before oaks and tanoaks are infected, so timely detection of the disease on bay laurel is essential.
Hosts, such as California bay laurel, suffer less damage and do not die from the pathogen. Despite this, the bay laurel is significant because they can harbor and spread the disease. Diagnosing the disease is tricky. A laboratory test utilizing either culture techniques or DNA analysis is necessary to confirm the presence of P. ramorum. Once the presence of the pathogen is confirmed, proper disposal of leaves, twigs and branches is an important step towards limiting the spread of the disease. Removal of the tree or infected plants may be necessary.
The community can help by volunteering to sample suspected bay laurel leaves at this year's SOD BLITZ. The purpose of the SOD-blitz is to inform and educate the community about the disease and its effects, get locals involved in detecting the disease, and produce a detailed local maps of disease distribution. The training is free and all necessary materials will be provided. The BLITZ consists of one training session and collecting leaves from suspect bay laurel trees.
2017 SOD BLITZ trainings sessions are planned for two locations:
Thursday May 11 from 1-4Pm at SLO County Department of Agriculture, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, CA.
Friday, May 12, 6pm to 8pm, SLO County Atascadero Library, Martin Polin Community Room, 6555 Capistrano Ave, Atascadero, CA
Collecting will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14.
Register for the SOD BLITZ training at http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/