Heat cure for sudden oak death

08/16/2012

Marin County, the epicenter of the sudden oak death disease that has devastated oak groves in California and Oregon, could now be the site of the trees’ salvation. Scientists at the National Ornamental Research Site at Dominican University in San Rafael unveiled breakthrough “green” technology on Tuesday that uses a commercial steamer to heat soil to 122 degrees, effectively killing the pathogen. “It’s low-tech and high impact,” principal investigator Sibdas Ghosh said. The research site at Dominican, a first-floor outdoor facility devoted to studying the spread of the disease on nursery plants, was established three years ago with funding from the United States Farm Bill. The university’s scientists studied the effects of the disease on potted plants, which have served as carriers and have contributed to the disease’s spread.