Many of California’s oak trees – and their unmistakable imprint on the state’s landscape – face possible annihilation in an anticipated scourge of Sudden Oak Death (SOD). In mid-May, the United States Forest Service underwent its annual aerial monitoring of SOD in Southern California and discovered approximately 150 patches of dead oak trees, according to Lisa Bell of the SOD monitoring program. Though the forest service is still awaiting test results to determine the definitive cause of these deaths, SOD – which is caused by a water mold – is most likely the culprit, particularly given this year’s late rain and warm temperatures. The disease was first discovered in California in 1995, when a large number of oaks began dying with a terrifying and mystifying fervor. After six years of monitoring the disease, the forest service has yet to find a cure. The best they can do is remove the infected plants and experiment with slashing and burning in hopes of slowing its proliferation. The disease has been reported as far south as five miles from San Luis Obispo and is inching ever closer to Santa Barbara.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Evacuees Across Santa Barbara County Allowed Back Home This Evening

Mandatory evacuation order lifted for all burn areas.

New Scam Involves ‘Ground Stability Testing’

Fake 'land tech' tried to enter a home on the Westside.

Family Sues Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office For Wrongful Death

Five deputies shot Bryan Carreño 20 times.

County Race for Auditor-Controller Turns Ugly

An unexpected bloodbath erupts between Jen Christensen and Betsy Schaffer.

Gun Restraining Order Used 20 Times in Santa Barbara County

Only Los Angeles County used the order more frequently.