BERKELEY—While the drought has tempered sudden oak death (SOD) caused by the water-loving invasive plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum) in many areas of California, predictions for El Niño suggest the time for prevention is now. In response, researchers from the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology Lab are offering workshops on new findings to help protect trees from SOD before wet weather gets underway, when pathogen spores will build up and spread.

“Prevention is the best weapon we have against SOD. These workshops will provide people and communities with the information they need to make proactive, positive decisions to help keep their trees healthy,” said Matteo Garbelotto, a UC Berkeley faculty member who runs the Forest Pathology Lab.

Sessions are intended for professionals and lay people and will provide updated SOD distribution information (from spring citizen scientist SOD Blitzes and researcher surveys) as well as inform communities as to which areas are at greatest risk for disease establishment. Researchers will help assess which trees are good candidates for preventive treatments and share findings on treatments that have proven to be the most effective. Information on how to care for oaks during droughts will also be covered.

What: Sudden Oak Death and Oak Drought Management Workshops (one was given on September 24 in Portola Valley.)

When: Tuesday, November 3, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Sebastopol Center for the Arts (Veterans’ Hall)
282 S. High St.; Sebastopol, CA
When: Wednesday, November 4, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: UC Berkeley
159 Mulford Hall; Berkeley, CA
When: Friday, November 13, 2015
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Dominican University of California
Science Center Room #102; 155 Palm Avenue; San Rafael, CA

Sudden Oak Death remains a major threat to coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve’s oak, canyon live oak, and tanoak trees in 15 coastal California counties. During periods of dry weather, the SOD pathogen becomes less active and can go into a dormant state until environmental conditions become more favorable for pathogen/disease spread. However, even during drought periods there are locations in California where environmental conditions remain favorable for the pathogen. SOD is the primary cause of tree mortality in coastal California, with more than three million trees having died since its discovery in the mid-1990s.

These workshops have been made possible thanks to the support of the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry and the PG&E Foundation. Contact: Katie Harrell, Communications Director (510) 847-5482 for more information.

For more information on Sudden Oak Death and P. ramorum, go to the California Oak Mortality Task Force website at or contact Katie Harrell at (510) 847-5482 or For more information on the workshops, go to or contact Katie Harrell.