All steamed up over fatal oak blight

August 15, 2012

A new way has been found to battle a particularly lethal plant disease called sudden oak death, which periodically plagues this region and can cause huge financial losses. The baffling and complex disease, it has been discovered, can be eradicated by the simplest of means — steam. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The disease, Phytophthora ramorum to scientists, also claims a large variety of other plants and has been the scourge of nurseries. It has nearly wiped out huge parts of Big Sur, Jack London and China Camp state parks, and watershed near Mount Tamapais. Until now, its only known treatment was application of an expensive phosphate compound designed mainly for treating infected trees in people’s yards.

The disease’s cause and eradication have eluded scientists for years. In 2004, Cal Poly Professor Walter Mark and forest health technician Amy Jirka launched a grant-funded study which the authors hoped would expand knowledge of the rapidly-spreading disease.

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As we steam treat the trees to save them, how many animals, insects, or other life will be displaced, harmed, or killed? Humans have done more harm than good by trying to fix nature. It is important to be good stewards, but is it our job to decide what is worth saving and what isn’t?

High phosphite fungicides deal with sod also. People, don’t be alarmed, there are no reported deaths in SLO County as of yet.

Can’t wait to hear what this this is going to cost us..

The pine bark beetle, the elm leaf beetle and many more bugs that attack the many non native trees are going to cost us millions to mitigate.

Love the trees but hate the cost…