On Sept. 19, I attended an informative workshop on the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) that is attacking our native oak trees in the Cleveland National Forest here in the San Diego region.
The workshop and field laboratory were held in the middle of oak woodland at Heise Park near Julian. There was a series of seven tables or stations where each stage of the beetle was discussed by officials from Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, University of California Cooperative Extension, as well as a farm advisor and a scientist. There were over 60 attendees from all over Southern California at this full day workshop.
The beetle has been here in California since early 2002 but has a long presence in southeastern Arizona, Mexico and down to Guatemala where its native habitat exists. It is believed to have hitched a ride on some oak firewood logs brought into San Diego County.
This wood borer is aggressively affecting three main native oak species at this time: California coastal live oak, canyon oak and black oak found in the Southern California from the coast to the mountains.
This pest has the potential of doing major damage to native oak species throughout the state of California and is being taken as a major threat to the environment.The major challenge for the near future is to establish trained volunteers for identifying and reporting outbreaks back to the GSOB officials.
Currently it is as close as Julian and working its way north. An incredible team of scientists from around the state are feverishly tracking and investigating the beetle to find biological predators for it.
Some of these infected and dead oak trees are being cut down and the oak wood sold at a premium price. The beetle’s larvae can harbor inside dead wood for some time. Moving oak firewood can spread and introduce this pest to other California locations.
Do not move oak firewood from infested and known areas.
I am currently in the stages of planning and getting all the proper scientists together to do a similar GSOB workshop in the near future here in Fallbrook to educate the community about this huge dreaded borer infestation.
So, stay tuned for a place and date to join in building a volunteer army that can identify, report and aid the many agencies working on this pest. As a team we can be a very helpful part in saving the oak trees that we have come to appreciate and enjoy. Oaks are one of Fallbrook’s native trees that give our village such a great feeling when driving the roadways, byways and the hills and dales here in north San Diego County
For additional information you may visit www.gsob.org.
Roger Boddaert, the Tree Man of Fallbrook and Certified ISA Arborist can be reached at (760) 728-4297.