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Forestry Board sees effects of Sudden Oak Death first-hand
ODF forest pathologist Alan Kanaskie (R) provides a briefing about SOD treatments
November 4, 2010
Kevin Weeks 
(503) 945-7427

Members of the Oregon Board of Forestry and key local officials learned Thursday about the effects of a deadly tree disease on forests in Curry County and southwest Oregon.
Sudden Oak Death (SOD), also known as Phytophthora ramorum, is a relatively new plant disease in Oregon. It was first discovered in July 2001 at five sites on the southern coast near Brookings, although aerial photos of the area indicate that the pathogen was present at one site since about 1997 or 1998. Outside of Oregon, SOD is known to occur only in forests in 14 California counties and in several European countries. The origin of the pathogen is unknown.
SOD can kill highly susceptible tree species such as tanoak, coast live oak, and California black oak by causing lesions on the main stem. Tanoak is by far the most susceptible species in Oregon, and the disease seriously threatens the future of this species. SOD also causes leaf blight or dieback on many other host plants including rhododendron, evergreen huckleberry and Oregon myrtle. Oregon’s iconic Douglas fir also can potentially be susceptible to damage from SOD.

Controlling spread of SOD is crucial
Extensive leaf browning on an otherwise healthy tree - an early sign of SOD infection
Brown leaves can point to SOD infection
Board of Forestry members Thursday saw the damage the pathogen causes on tanoaks, and efforts to contain SOD during a field tour of federal and private forestlands presented by officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U,S, Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division.
In 2008, a 162-square-mile quarantine zone for SOD was established in southern Curry County. The quarantine restriction prohibits nursery products, wood products or specialty forest products grown in areas known to contain SOD pathogens from being exported outside the quarantine zone unless specific disease-prevention protocols are followed. The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have programs in place with forest and plant producers in Curry County to ensure these products can continue to be processed and certified as pathogen-free for sale outside Curry County.

SOD - not just a forest health concern, also an economic concern
Early detection of SOD is achieved through a combination of aerial survey, follow-up ground visits and monitoring the presence of the SOD pathogen in streams. These efforts are critical to ongoing attempts to eradicate the pathogen from Oregon. Between 2001 and the end of 2009, eradication treatments were completed on approximately 2,900 acres of forest at an estimated cost of $5 million. Despite this effort, SOD continues to slowly expand in Curry County -- from 2007 to 2009 approximately 60 new infested sites were found each of the two years.
In addition to the impact on forest health, SOD in Curry County creates economic impacts from potential consumer concerns or misconceptions about the health of wood products originating from southwest Oregon.