Update on P. ramorum find ..... John Aguirre's recount, OAN
John Aguirre [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Monday, June 28, 2004 5:41 PM
in New York--
afternoon a USDA APHIS official informed me that late last Friday (Jun. 25) USDA
confirmed the presence of P. ramorum in a single Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
located within a 192-acre public county park in Nassau County (Long Island), New
York. At this point in time, USDA has confirmed the presence of P. ramorum in
only a single tree in this park. It's unclear how the tree became infected.
According to the USDA APHIS official, Nassau County contains 340 garden centers
and nurseries. But, none are in close proximity to this infected tree. The trees
in the park exhibit a lot of stress, but they are not showing typical symptoms
associated with P. ramorum.
most recent find by USDA is a follow up to an effort by a private consultant,
Mr. Zingaro, who collected plant samples from 6 eastern states. Some of Mr.
Zingaro's plant samples, which were tested at Cornell University and
subsequently by USDA, proved positive for P. ramorum. USDA subsequently
collected samples from New York, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire; hence the
discovery of the infected Q. rubra in Nassau County, NY. Additional information
will come in next week from other
states. If P. ramorum is found to be established and widespread in several
eastern states, then this will have a significant effect on USDA's regulatory
This tree represents a
significant find for me personally, because it is on a site in Oyster Bay NY
that I have been sampling and studying since the late 1970ís.
It is a forested area that lost almost 100% of the native dogwoods to
dogwood decline in the late 1970ís. I
was hired back then by the wealthy Schiff Estate family to sample the soils on
their land, which today is a public park, which
would explain why the dogwood trees had died on this site so suddenly. The scientists had isolated a fungal pathogen known as
anthracnose from the leaves of the dying trees, but anthracnose seldom entirely
kills whole trees. My soil samples
revealed the underlying causes of this tree decline- soil acidification,
aluminum toxicity, calcium deficiency all caused by the cumulative effects of
acid rain. This is the real tree
killer, not the fungus.
So, when I first found
sudden oak death in Northern California, I immediately thought of this site in
Oyster Bay , NY. The trees are
stressed here in California as they are all over the east coast.
And they are stressed for the same reasons why we lost our native dogwood
trees, now we are about to lose our oaks and other trees.
But again, the oaks are not dying from Phytophthora ramorum which has
been detected in the tree in the picture. The
oaks on this site and on the West Coast are being weakened and predisposed by
the cumulative effects of acid rain, soil acidification, aluminum toxicity and
calcium deficiency. The fungi are
This effectively changes
the definition of sudden oak forever as a tree decline complex caused by
environmental stress as the primary factor.
This , for me, is an all to
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