Robin Rosetta of Oregon State University Extension / North Willamette Research and Extension Center / the @PNWNurseryIPM Twitter feed passed along word of a devastating pest that has established a presence in the San Diego, Calif. area — the goldspotted oak borer. Some 80,000 oak trees already have been killed by this pest. The Los Angeles Times has a detailed article about the damage it has wrought. Click the link to see a picture of this dangerous pest.
“This may be the biggest oak mortality event since the Pleistocene [epoch] 12,000 years ago,” UC Riverside natural resource specialist Tom Scott said in comments published in a report last week and reported by the Times. We would have to agree with Robin Rosetta that these are the sort of words that will get anyone’s attention if they are concerned about tree health.
With Oregon growers working on notable oak savannah restoration projects in the Willamette Valley, including the Graham Oaks Natural Area, this would not be a good time for this pest to make its way northward (not that there is a good time).
UPDATE (9-7-2011): There’s additional information about the goldspotted oak borer here.