The University of California at Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory will hold an Sudden Oak Death Blitz in Napa on June 4.

The event is a collaboration of the UC Berkeley Lab and local volunteers to locate and map sudden oak death in order to help homeowners and property managers make informed decisions for managing and preventing the disease.

Caused by the organism Phytophthora ramorum, SOD has killed more than three million trees in fifteen coastal counties from Monterey to Humboldt.

In previous years, Napa surveys have located the disease at numerous locations in and near Napa County. Last week, a UC Davis researcher reported that the disease was out of control in many locations.

Additional volunteer help is needed to obtain more data.

After a brief orientation, volunteers are sent out to collect California bay laurel leaves that show symptoms of the disease, record data on the location, and tag symptomatic bay laurel trees, which are the source of most SOD infections in oaks.

Smart phones can be used to note GPS coordinates to help with the mapping, using the free app: SODMap Mobile.

Volunteers return the sample packets to a local drop-off location on the same, or following day. The packets are then forwarded to the Berkeley lab.

Results are posted on the lab’s website in the fall, just before the preventative treatment season begins.

Thanks to various funding sources, including the US Forest Service, private forestry, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, there is no charge for the training and lab analysis.

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The Napa SOD Blitz begins at 10 a.m. June 4 at the Napa County Resource Conservation district conference room, 1303 Jefferson St., Suite 508 B.

Pre-registration is not necessary.

Volunteers are encouraged to simply show up, with a smart phone if available, and be ready to go out and collect samples at locations of their own choice.

For more information, contact Bill Pramuk: 226-2884 or check the matteolab website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelotto/english/index.php

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