Trees surround us in everything we do, everyday. Even if you don’t realize it, our lives are intertwined with trees. They purify our air, they provide food for us and they provide us with lumber to build our amazing buildings. They are even a part of the paper that we use every day. While there are some places on the planet where trees are becoming scarce, there are many places where trees line the streets and are hard to get away from. So while trees are an important part of our lives, what happens when they get sick?
Is That Contagious?
There are a few diseases that are well known to people such as Dutch Elm Disease which can eradicate entire forests if left unchecked. What happens, though, when no one knows what the disease is?
ESCONDIDO CREEK WATERSHED- A mysterious disease is damaging willow trees along the Escondido Creek Watershed. Volunteers with the Escondido Creek Conservancy are scrambling to find out what’s wrong.
A woman on horseback in the Elfin forest first spotting two diseased willow trees back in June. Those two trees appeared to be dead just two weeks later. A month after that, the disease had already spread to hundreds of others willow trees. The Conservancy feared the damage was caused by the Shot Hole Borer beetle which attacks 137 tree species in Southern California. However; tests done by UC-Riveside came back negative.
The disease stopped spreading at the end of the summer and some of the most damaged trees started to grow new buds. But; researchers at UC- Riverside fear this mysterious disease will start to damage the willow trees again in the spring. “These willow trees are found all along the coast of Southern California. They are a habitat for the endangered song birds, the Least Bell’s Vireo. If we lose the habitat for the Least Bell’s Vireo we could very well lose the Least Bell’s Vireo as well.”, says Conservancy board member Leonard Wittwer.
An expert from UC-Riverside expert traveled to the affected are to take more samples for testing. He hopes to have an answer soon. The clock is ticking. Not only are volunteers worried about beating the upcoming spring growing season, damaged willow trees dry out quickly creating a fire hazard.
Watch Where You Walk
When it comes to diseases like this you want to make sure you are careful where you’re walking. It’s possible that your shoes are picking up and carrying the disease-causing elements with you. Always be aware of where you’re walking, what you’re wearing on your feet and try not to cross-contaminate as you go about your journey. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you pay attention and follow the steps outlined for you by professionals.
If you have dead trees in your yard that need to be removed, make sure you let the company know about any disease concerns or ask them their professional opinion about it. Professionals are pros for a reason: there is a lot of education and experience that comes with the territory. They should always be your best bet.