Sudden Oak Death SOD
Sudden Oak Death SOD
Phytophthora Ramorum Sudden Oak Death Symptoms and Treatment
Oak Leaves

Sudden Oak Death SOD Phytophthora Ramorum - Symptoms Treatment and Management

Sudden Oak Death, SOD, is the common name of a disease caused by the fungal-like plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. As well as attacking many species of oak tree, it has been found on Beech, Sweet chestnut, Horse Chestnut, Douglas Fir, European Larch, Sitka Spruce and Japanese Larch trees. The scale of the infection in the UK of Japanese Larch Trees is significant, with large numbers of this commercially important conifer having to be destroyed. Sudden Oak Death is causing devastation in Californian Forests and much of the cutting edge research into the disease has been done by Californian Universities.

The video below is an overview of current research into the disease by Dr. Matteo Garbelotto of UC Forestry Research

Sudden Oak Disease - Symptoms

  • Lesions and bleeding cankers
  • Leaking fluid is visible as a black exudate
  • This exudate dries to a crust on the trunk
  • The bark of the infected area is dying and discoloured
  • Tree death occurs when the lesions become extensive
  • On Japanese larch - wilted branch tips with blackened needles.
  • On Japanese Larch - needles are shed prematurely
  • Trees branches suffer dieback due to resinous cankers

Ornamental shrubs such as rhododendron, viburnum, pieris and camellia can also be infected.

The disease does not usually kill these plants but tree managers need to be aware of this in order to stop the disease from spreading. Typical symptoms on rhododendron include leaf-blackening, wilted shoots and die-back.

How We Can Help

The bad news is that there is no known cure as yet. No chemical agents are effective and fungicides can suppress the disease but will not kill it. Given the seriousness of this disease, the Forestry Commission are serving statutory Plant Health Notices on owners requiring their infected trees to be felled.

If you suspect Sudden Oak Death in any of the trees under your care, you need to take IMMEDIATE ACTION. Apart from the danger of a weakened tree causing personal injury, Sudden Oak Death has the potential to devastate stocks of very important trees in the UK. Once our Specialist Tree Consultant has positively identified SOD, the tree will need to be felled and disposed of by Tree Surgeons who are Licensed Waste Carriers. The tree has to be destroyed in a biologically secure way to prevent the spread of SOD.

PDFDownload the Sudden Oak Death UK Management Report produced by the Forestry Commission.

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