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The picture above shows lesions and discoloration on individual needles of a young redwood that has been infected with the Sudden Oak Death fungus. New foliage does not appear to be affected.
Click on image for full size
Matteo Garbelotto, UC Berkeley, and David Rizzo, UC Davis

Giant Redwoods Attacked by Tiny Fungus
News story originally written on September 17, 2002

Redwood trees are the tallest trees in the world, but even they are at risk of getting the deadly fungus called Sudden Oak Death. The trees grow in Northern California, can reach heights of more than 100 meters (330 feet) and can live for as long as 2000 years.

Both the giant redwood trees and some Douglas fir trees in Northern California have become infected with the fungus, which has killed more than 10,000 oak trees in the past three years. The disease does not kill the largest and oldest trees but it can kill the younger trees. The fungus is related to the one that caused the Irish potato famine more than 150 years ago and to a disease that is infecting trees in Western Australia today.

Two professors from University of California have been studying the infected trees but they don’t know what the long-term impact will be. “We really don’t have a good sense of the progression of the disease over a period of years,” said David Rizzo, University California professor.

Both the redwoods and the Douglas fir trees play an important role in ecosystems . As the biggest plants in the temperate rain forest, they set the tone for what the ecosystem is capable of doing.


Last modified September 17, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.

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