Five-year results of fire mimicry on oaks in Carmel, CA – Part 2

30 09 2019

Part 2 of this post shows promising results in improving the health of an old coast live oak shown in the preceding post (Part 1) that was severely affected by a stem canker disease, possibly Sudden Oak Death, in 2014. Besides doing fire mimicry treatments I tried (experimentally, as I told the owner) a major surgical procedure that involved removing the infected tissue from the tree. The wound was then strongly cauterized and a mineral-based poultice was applied. One additional surgery to remove lingering infected tissue was done in May 2016. Here are before-and-after photos showing the initial surgical wound immediately after removal of infected tissue, but before cauterization and poultice, and the wound after 5 years.

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While it may not be apparent in the photos, the large wound is showing no sign of lingering infection and it would appear that the disease is eradicated from this critical part of the tree.

At the same time the general health of this oak, as indicated by the foliage density of its canopy, has clearly improved. The following photo shows the canopy density of the two main branches of this oak over the past 5 years. It is too soon to know whether or not this is an exceptional case. But it sure encourages me to try major surgeries on other severely diseased oaks!

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