Resources for Learning About Sudden Oak Death

by on October 01, 2006

This micrograph shows one stage of the life cycle of the pathogen that causes sudden oak death. When conditions are right, the football-shaped sporangia release the highly infectious zoospores, which are able to swim in rainwater. Photo by Doug Schmidt, UC Berkeley.

This micrograph shows one stage of the life cycle of the pathogen that causes sudden oak death. When conditions are right, the football-shaped sporangia release the highly infectious zoospores, which are able to swim in rainwater.

Photo by Doug Schmidt, UC Berkeley.


California Oak Mortality Task Force or

This is the most comprehensive source of information for the general public about sudden oak death and the pathogen that causes it.

Useful pages on the site include:

History and Background

Chronology of disease discovery, research, and regulation

Affected habitats

Ecological threats posed by the disease

Symptoms and Diagnosis

List of current regulated host species and associated plant species

Plant symptoms

Wildland and nursery plant diagnosis guides with photos

Look-alike diseases and common misdiagnoses

Information about the pathogen

Maps and Photos

Image library including photos of infected plants and landscapes and photomicrographs of Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes sudden oak death.

Surveys of infected areas

Preliminary sudden oak death risk/hazard map

Link to the OakMapper website (see below)

Treatment and Management Information

Resource information for homeowners (in English and Spanish)

The disease and its treatment

Precautions for preventing the spread of the pathogen

List of tree care professionals who have completed training in P. ramorum diagnosis and treatment

Resource information professionals including arborists, foresters, ecologists, and other landscape professionals

Best Management Practices for activities and people in wildlands and urban-interface zones

Guides for recreational open space users, people collecting items in forests, tribal plant gatherers, arborists, forestry, and firefighters

General information on oak tree maintenance and care

Nursery Information

Regulatory updates, diagnosis guides and photos, and best management practices

Library of Documents

A regularly-updated comprehensive list of publications addressing numerous aspects of Phytophthora ramorum research

Task Force documents available for download, including informational pamphlets, diagnostic guides, educational materials, brochures and best management practices

Comprehensive informational binder, PowerPoint presentations available for download and use

Risk assessments for California, Oregon, and beyond


This web site includes detailed geographic information about the distribution of sudden oak death in California. Users can report a tree suspected of being infected with sudden oak death; view maps of infested areas at the state, county, or vicinity level; watch the animated movie, “SOD Through Time”; learn about techniques for monitoring the disease; and much more.

US Department of Agriculture’s current list of proven host species and plants associated with Phytophthora ramorum.

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources online media kit

Includes articles about the disease and its spread as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

Sudden Oak Death and Wildlife (from the Wildlife Conservation Society):

Very brief summary of ongoing research on the ecological effects of sudden oak death.

Global Invasive Species Web Database Information on Phytophthora ramorum

Includes information about the biology, impacts, and management of Phytophthora ramorum.

California Oaks Foundation

Web site includes information on oak tree care, though little on sudden oak death.


The Sixth California Oak Symposium: Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities, October 9-12, 2006, Rohnert Park, CA.

Conference features a field trip and two indoor sessions on sudden oak death, and is intended for academics, planners, conservation practitioners, foresters, arborists, land owners, and oak enthusiasts.


(General Information about Oaks)

Oaks of California, by Bruce M. Pavlik, Pamela Muick, and Sharon Johnson, Cachuma Press, 1993.

A guide to all species of California oaks and the ecosystems of which they are such integral parts.

The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait, by Glenn Keator, Heyday Books, 1998.

An in-depth exploration of the oak’s natural history.

Oak: The Frame of Civilization, by William Bryant Logan, W.W. Norton and Company, 2005.

A history of the oak as a natural resource for human civilization as well as its role in the natural world.

Living Among the Oaks

Eight-page leaflet presents practical information on protecting and enhancing native oaks that grow on California rangelands. Single copies are available free upon request.

Wildlife Among the Oaks

Small booklet provides up-to-date information on how the home, ranchette, and ranch owner can attract and maintain oak woodland wildlife. Single copies are available free upon request.

How to Grow California Oaks

by Douglas D. McCreary

Four-page guide gives an overview of how to regenerate rangeland oak species, including information on collecting and storing acorns, planting, and seedling maintenance and protection. Single copies are available free upon request by contacting Joni Rippee at

UC Hardwood Range Management Program Oaks ‘n’ Folks Newsletter

Biannual newsletter with articles of interest to owners and managers of California hardwood rangelands. Available in both printed and electronic format.

California Oak Foundation

Key advocacy group for oaks and oak woodlands. Publishes a monthly e-newsletter, “The Oak Report”, with updates on legislative, policy, and research issues relevant to California’s oaks.

—Compiled by Sue Rosenthal

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