Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately.
Oak Trees Succumb to Sudden Oak Death
Two trees fell in Curry Canyon from Sudden Oak Death during September, one near our Curry Canyon field station and the other along a fire road near Mount Diablo State Park. Our caretaker and grazing partner spent a couple of hours clearing the downed trees off roads and trails, a challenging task in hot, smoky weather.
Sudden Oak Death, a fungus that attacks vulnerable species like valley oaks, is transmitted via water or vector plants, such as California bay laurel. The fungus slowly rots away the center of the tree, creating holes in the trunk and major limbs; the tree breaks apart and dies when it can no longer support the weight of its branches.
Future management is critical to slowing the spread of Sudden Oak Death on Mount Diablo. To support this effort, Save Mount Diablo will kickstart a hazardous tree indexing program to identify, mark, and monitor all hazardous trees on our properties.
Crew Waters Recently Planted Natives
The summer months can be tough, even for native plants adapted to the Bay Area. September was no exception: it was dry, hot, and smoky! Young natives, recently planted as part of our ongoing restoration efforts, need a helping hand for a year or so, until they become established.
Our committed volunteer crew has been giving our thirsty young friends a drink of water every three weeks since April. Watering is an annual effort for Save Mount Diablo during the dry season, which typically runs from May to October but began early this year. We always hope for early fall rains, but will continue watering until they actually arrive.