Reporter David Gorn recently wrote on the KQED blog about Sudden Oak Death, relaying claims by UC Berkeley researcher Matteo Garbelotto that the mineral treatments I use are “like giving a glass of orange juice to someone with a terminal disease”. Furthermore, Garbelotto says that fertilizing with minerals could have a “detrimental effect” on sick oaks.
I have two questions:
What is the basis for these claims (no sources are given)? Why did the KQED reporter not do a balanced story? Why was I not contacted by the reporter about these claims against my work?
I know, that’s three – still if anyone can help provide answers to these questions please leave a comment or email me. Let’s not speculate on motives here, just the facts.
UPDATE (May 27, 2009): David Gorn appears to be responding to my request for sources of the above claims in his KQED science blog comment here. He offers no apology for the glaring lack of balance in his piece. As for the claims I questioned him about, he writes:
“California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed academic journal. The research of Matteo Garbelotto is summarized here: http://calag.ucop.edu/0901JFM/resrchNews01.html”
The paper he seems to be referring to is “Phosphonate controls sudden oak death pathogen for up to 2 years” [California Agriculture, 63 (1): 10-17].
I’ll discuss this paper with regards to claims of inefficacy in a post following this update.
With regards to the claim that my treatments could have a “detrimental effect” on the oaks, no data or evidence is given in this paper. So I’m still left wondering if the “detrimental effect” claims have any scientific merit or basis.
This is not merely an academic matter. It’s time to resolve these differences. We need to take what we know and start helping the trees and soils. Countless oaks are at stake.