Phosphonate controls sudden oak death pathogen for up to 2 years.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


California Agriculture, Volume 63, p.10-17 (2009)



Since its emergence in the late 1990s, sudden oak death has killed mature oak trees and tanoaks in 14 California counties. Treatment options are now available to safeguard these trees from infection by Phytophthora ramorum, the aggressive and exotic pathogen responsible for sudden oak death. We provide an update on current knowledge regarding this emergent disease in California, and present results from three controlled experiments of two chemical treatments to manage the disease in oaks and tanoaks. Phosphonate treatments, legally registered in California to control sudden oak death, were effective in slowing both infection and growth rates for at least 18 months. Conversely, an alternative method consisting of an azomite soil amendment and bark lime wash was always ineffective, and did not reduce either growth or infection rates.