The MCFSC hosted a community meeting to update the residents on the current status of the Gold Spotted Oak Borer. Kayanna Warren, San Jacinto Ranger District Forester from the U.S. Forest Service; Gregg Bratcher, Cal Fire Forester; and Dr. Tom Scott and Kevin Turner from the University of California, Riverside were there to speak about what is now known and let property owners know how they can help identify infested trees and keep the pest from spreading.
The current number of infested trees in the Idyllwild area has remained 62 throughout the winter with only two additional trees identified in the last six months. However, spring is the time when unhealthy trees show signs of being infested. Each speaker emphasized that we should all be on the lookout for trees with many dead leaves left from last fall and for trees which are not leafing out normally. Dwarfed leaves and “D” shaped holes in the trunk of black oak and live oak trees are a sign of the Gold Spotted Oak Borer. While only two of the infected trees have been live oak, they should still be checked.
If you suspect any trees are having a problem, you are urged to call the GSOB hotline at 951-659-8328. Cal Fire will notify the MCFSC which will send trained inspectors to look at the tree. If the inspectors think the tree is infected, they will notify Cal Fire who will send out an expert to check the tree. If the tree needs to be removed, Cal Fire has grant money to pay for 65% of the cost leaving the property owner to pay the remaining 35%.
The MCFSC would like more people to volunteer to be trained to drive through the community and inspect trees. If you are willing to help, please call 951-659-6208.
Over 100,000 trees were killed by the Gold Spotted Oak Borer in San Diego County. It has also been identified in Orange County. We think we are having an impact by quickly identifying and removing the trees, but experts stressed that we won’t know for several more years.