Communities Coming Together in the Fight Against
Sudden Oak Death
SOD BLITZ PROJECT INTRODUCTION
Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic disease, is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. Currently SOD is found in the wildlands of 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt. While patchy in distribution, with each passing year, the swath of infection continues to become more contiguous. Researchers have discovered that Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes SOD, spreads most often on infected California bay laurel leaves. Symptomatic bay leaves are often the first sign that SOD has arrived at a location, and generally precedes oak infections. Some management options are available (sanitation, chemical preventative treatments, bay removal), but they are effective only if implemented before oaks and tanoaks are infected; hence, timely detection of the disease on bay laurel leaves is key for a successful proactive attempt to slow down the SOD epidemic.
WHAT IS A SOD-BLITZ?
SOD-blitzes inform and educate the community about Sudden Oak Death, get locals involved in detecting the disease, and produce detailed local maps of disease distribution. The map can then be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to justify proactive management.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IN MY COMMUNITY?
Contact one of the organizers above, come to the meeting, and help collect leaves in your local area. If you’d like to organize a community SOD Blitz in your area see the links below.
HOW ARE SOD-BLITZES STRUCTURED?
1. A community meeting is held on a Friday evening (or Saturday morning). The goals of the meeting are to:
- Train participants to identify SOD symptoms on CA bay laurel and other hosts
- Explain the details of the sampling/collection process (number of samples, bagging, storing, tagging, distance between sampled trees)
- Explain how to record the sample location (address, GPS, etc)
- Explain how to fill out the collection form
- Define collection areas for each participant
- Distribute necessary materials to participants (forms, bags, markers, GPS units, laminated pictorial identification cards)
2. Collection of samples: On Saturday and Sunday, leaf samples are collected by the individual participants. Samples and accompanying forms are then turned in at a central location Saturday and Sunday evenings.
3. The UC Berkeley diagnostic laboratory will analyze each collected sample through microscopic and DNA analyses to determine the presence or absence of P. ramorum/Sudden Oak Death. Once all samples have been tested, a map will be generated highlighting the areas sampled, and the presence or absence of the disease at each location.
4. One to four months later (dependent upon workload and number of samples collected) a follow-up community meeting may be organized. At the meeting, results will be presented, and management options discussed.
SHOULD OUR COMMUNITY ORGANIZE OUR OWN SOD BLITZ?
- Do you live in an area where SOD is currently at a low or intermediate level?
- Is there a system is in place to inform community members of the event? Is community interest and involvement likely? Is a meeting location available?
- Is it possible to mobilize local groups or neighboring communities (multiple townships, parks and preserves, etc.) to participate?
WHEN TO ORGANIZE A SOD-BLITZ
Bearing in mind that 4-8 weeks are necessary to advertise the event, early spring is the best time to organize SOD-Blitzes. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.
HOW MUCH DOES A SOD-BLITZ COST?
SOD-Blitzes are COMPLETELY FREE thanks to funding from the US Forest Service to the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology Lab!
WHO SHOULD YOU CONTACT?
Email Dr. Matteo Garbelotto firstname.lastname@example.org Please include in the subject the word “SOD-Blitz.” Requests need to arrive at least 6 months before the desired date to allow for proper organization.