Sacramento - Today, the California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection adopted policy that will allow the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to help prevent the continued spread of the Goldspotted Oak Borer (GSOB). The policy will allow CAL FIRE to enter into agreements with both public and private landowners and governmental agencies, including the federal government, for the purpose of controlling or eradicating forest insects, specifically the GSOB, or plant diseases that damage or threaten destruction to timber or forest growth.

The GSOB was first identified in 2002 in San Diego County and thus far does not appear to have expanded its occupation elsewhere in the state. The insect is causing mortality in healthy, mature coast live oak, canyon live oak, and California black oak trees. Believed to have been transported into the San Diego County area on firewood, the GSOB continues to spread within the county causing significant devastation to the area.

"This invasive pest is particularly important, as our native oaks are much less resistant to it than those in Arizona, its point of origin”, said George Gentry, Executive Officer to the Board. To date, the GSOB is responsible for killing 80,000 trees throughout San Diego County, and if they continue to spread beyond the county, mortality rates will increase. “The implications for financial loss are quite high”, said Gentry.

There are several recommended prevention and suppression steps that can be taken to help reduce the spread of such invasive insects that include:

  • Firewood and cut wood should not be moved outside the county.
  • Covering cut oak with plastic tarpaulins can contain insects.
  • Removing infested trees, and properly managing the woods disposal, can reduce localized infestation and help minimize the spread.
  • Mulching, soil aerations, and fertilizing may increase oak health and delay tree mortality.

 

For more information on the Goldspotted Oak Borer and the new policy adopted by the board, visit the website at www.bof.fire.ca.gov.

Source: State of California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

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