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MEDIA ADVISORY: UC Berkeley researcher to present potential treatments for Sudden Oak Death

ATTENTION: Environmental Writers

08 March 2001
Contact: Catherine Zandonella
(510) 643-7741


A presentation of groundbreaking results on potential chemical treatments shown in University of California, Berkeley, tests to slow down Sudden Oak Death, a deadly fungal disease that is decimating thousands of oak trees in parts of northern California.


Friday, March 9, 10:15 a.m.


San Rafael Community Center, 618 B St., San Rafael


Matteo Garbelotto, a forest pathology specialist and adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley.


The new results come from the first controlled field experiment performed on oaks with the disease. The experiment, which began in August 2000 and ended in March 2001, was performed on 90 potted coast live oaks in Sonoma County. The trees were artificially inoculated with the Sudden Oak Death pathogen and later treated with four different chemical treatments. After approximately 100 days, the size of disease-related lesions were measured and compared among treatments. Injections of three of the four compounds produced statistically significant reductions in canker size as compared to inoculated but untreated stems. Phosphonate was the most effective compound.

Discovered in 1995, Sudden Oak Death is caused by a fungus belonging to the genus Phytophthora (pronounced Phy-TOFF-thor-uh) that infects and rapidly kills tan oaks, coast live oaks and black oaks. Related species caused the 1845 potato famine in Ireland and deaths of cedars in Oregon and eucalyptus in Australia.