Almanac

News - July 27, 2011

Bay trees being removed to save oaks

A crew started removing roughly 250 bay trees in several open space lands in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties on July 11 to stop the spread of a plant pathogen that causes oak tree species to die.

The pathogen, Phytophthora Ramorum, causes certain oak trees to die from sudden oak death. In an effort to understand and eradicate the disease, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has enlisted the help of a work crew with the California Conservation Corps to remove nearly 250 bay trees within 15 feet of 49 healthy oak trees.

According to the open space district, research has shown that removing bay trees within 15 feet of oak trees significantly lowers their chances of becoming infected and dying from sudden oak death. Bay trees are a host species that can transmit the pathogen.

The tree removal will continue through July 28. The crews have tackled the trees at the Long Ridge and Russian Ridge preserves in San Mateo County. The week of July 25, they will work at Saratoga Gap in Santa Clara County and Skyline Ridge in San Mateo County.

The project, which was funded by a Proposition 84 grant, is meant to help prevent the buildup of dead trees and protect open space lands.

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