International Tree Failure Database Project

UC Cooperative Extension is offering a unique service for 2014: Have the wood from your failed tree tested for wood-decay fungi AT NO COST to you!

All you do is mail a small wood sample directly to Dr. Garbelotto’s lab, and 6-8 weeks later you will receive results of the fungal assay, informing you about the presence (or absence) of wood-decay fungi in the failed wood, especially valuable in cases where the wood appears sound on visual inspection. For the moment, this service is provided AT NO COST to the submitting arborist; the assay costs for the first one hundred samples will be covered by UCCE.

This service is part of a research study, in which we are evaluating the link between wood decay organisms and tree failure. Wood does not have to be obviously decayed to send in a sample. We are interested to know if wood decay fungi are active in trunk and branch breaks that appear to be in sound wood (as in summer limb drop, for example). We expect that the study results will be highly valuable to urban foresters, tree workers, and consulting arborists. To read more about Dr. Garbelotto’s work on the wood decay assay, please see Wood Decay Diagnostic Page

To get your sample tested, please follow this simple four-step procedure:

  1. If you think that you may be interested in this service, please e-mail Igor Lacan ( with your name, company name, address, and the type of business (consulting, tree maintenance, municipal government, NGO, etc.) so we can gauge the level of interest. We will mail you a hard copy of the instructions and the ITFD form.
  2. Before taking or sending in any samples, please read the directions on the Garbelotto lab website Tree Sampling Protocol and Shipping Samples to UCB – You can disregard the “Donation” instructions. Please remember to contact the lab to let them know samples are on the way.
  3. For each failed tree, please FILL OUT AN ITFD FORM copy and mail it to:Igor Lacan, UCCE, 80 Stone Pine Road, Suite 100, Half Moon Bay, CA 94909, or e-mail to
    Please note that wood samples will not be processed without the receipt of the completed ITFD form. Please do NOT enter the data on line or send it to Katherine. It will be done for you when the assay results are received. Receive the assay results in 6-8 weeks. Enjoy!

For more information, please see Dr. Garbelotto’s Wood Decay Diagnostic Page or email Igor Lacan or call (510) 684-4323.

With your help we can continue to expand the CTFRP database, as well as uncover new insights into the causes and patterns of tree decay and failure. Please see the links below for important information on sample collection, preparation, and shipping.