A crew started removing roughly 250 bay trees in several open space lands in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties Monday, July 11, to stop the spread of a plant pathogen that kills oak tree species.
The pathogen, Phytophthora Ramorum, causes certain species of oak trees to die from sudden oak death. In an effort to understand and eradicate the disease, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has enlisted the help of a work crew with the California Conservation Corps to remove nearly 250 bay trees within 15 feet of 49 healthy oak trees.
According to the open space district, research has shown that removing bay trees within 15 feet of oak trees significantly lowers their chances of becoming infected and dying from sudden oak death. Bay trees are a host species that can transmit the pathogen.
The tree removal started July 11 and will continue through July 28. The crew will work this week at Monte Bello and Los Trancos open space preserves in Santa Clara County and Long Ridge Open Space Preserve in San Mateo County. Next week, the crew will tackle the trees at the Long Ridge and Russian Ridge preserves in San Mateo County. The week of July 25, they will work at Saratoga Gap in Santa Clara County and Skyline Ridge in San Mateo County.
The project, which was funded by a Proposition 84 grant, is meant to help prevent the buildup of dead trees and protect open space lands.