Ebba Patterson was driving home from work along Highway 101 in Oregon this April when something caught her eye—a flash of red along the side of the road. Peterson, a plant epidemiologist, recognized it as the foliage of sick trees and pulled over.
After bushwhacking to reach the site, Peterson was dismayed by what she saw: two trees, seemingly in the throes of a disease called sudden oak death. They had flaring brown-red canopies and blackening twigs. “I’m looking out the window, I see these dead crowns, I think: ‘Shit!” Peterson recalls.
She clipped some samples and took them back to her lab for analysis. “The second time I cursed was when I looked at those petri plates,” she remembers. The culture tested positive: It was sudden oak death.
Click here to read more…