Diseased oaks in Marin respond quickly to fire mimicry

25 04 2016

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Last April (2015) I was contacted by a home owner in Ross, CA (Marin County) regarding a very sick coast live oak tree (above) growing near his home. I promptly inspected the oak and found it was badly infected with a stem canker disease (probably Sudden Oak Death) and told him that I was not optimistic it could be helped. During my inspection I found few other oaks with SOD-like cankers. He asked that I try the fire mimicry techniques to see if they would help his sick oaks.

I visited the oaks last week to inspect and photograph their response. The photos show that the very sick oak has surprisingly responded with a nice flush of leaves in just one year. Several of the other sick oaks have also shown a good response (see below). The sick oak still has a severe stem canker infection and may not survive in the long run, but this is further evidence that we can improve the health and extend the lives of diseased oaks.

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