The Sudden Oak Death in California

Photo from Sudden oak death is plaguing California forests – Save the Redwoods League

I’ve been watching plants in a garden recently almost a year now. Even though not a green thumb, I can keep the easy plants going. Hey, water, light, sunshine, fertilizer, weeding. Most can handle this! And buying the correct plants for the zone you are in really helps. Ask the people at your local nursey for help on what will work at your location (home, office, other). I just thought about Sudden Oak Death again. I don’t have an oak tree however I’ve done road tripping and seen dead trees in California just out by themselves in a grassy pasture, even not so grassy desert areas. It is a sad thing to see a great oak that’s grown for decades… suddenly die.

My question to us all, since I am NOT a botanist or ecologist: Are the trees most susceptible to the fungus the ones that got TOO DRY first? The reason I ask is because I am noting that HEALTHY house plants, even yard plants tend to fend off even insects when they are watered enough over a long term. The plants that got dry seem to not have as much natural chemical resistance. Those chemicals can STINK insects away. Insects have been known to transport spores from all kinds of plants, especially diseased dying ones.

Also, for trees… they have natural oils throughout. If they dry up too much, then the insects… the really small ones… could create their own spaces within the trees and cause it to have micro holes… which could capture water longer in places trees cannot dry as well. Without natural oils, the tree could actually get more saturated and moldy when wet weather comes–not unlike untreated lumber.

Another question I have: Did this mold fungus come from tropical areas on planet Earth where it thrives but does not harm the trees? Carried by winds, birds, insects, humans? Guess what. The U.S. National Park Service thinks that is what happened! VIDEO ON SUDDEN OAK DEATH (produced and featuring the National Park Service)

My final question: If we can vaccinate humans and animals from diseases and viruses, can we also do the same for a tree or plant? Would giving a tree or plant a “cure” or preventative through its water source help it? Effectively causing all its cells to have something to fight the fungus off? Is the “secret sauce” found in trees and plants in areas where Phytopthera ramorum(scientific name) is common? If we can’t save the older trees, what about the younger ones?

For more reading on this please see these links:
National Park Service – Sudden Oak Death
Arbor Day Foundation – SOD
Arborist Now – a Full Guide to Sudden Oak Death