Sudden oak death? There’s an app for that.

January 25, 2011

In a world of social media, smart phones and information available with the touch of a screen, it is no surprise that mobile applications have made their way into the plant protection community. In response to concern of sudden oak death in California, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley developed OakMapper, an iPhone application geared toward hikers and nature enthusiasts to report trees with symptoms of sudden oak death. Using the free application, iPhone users can report trees by identifying the tree species, symptoms, environmental settings and additional descriptions. The application uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to add the report to maps showing both officially confirmed and community-reported cases of sudden oak death.

Foliar lesions on Rhododendron

Foliar lesions on Rhododendron

Sudden oak death is a disease caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, and affects a variety of plant species. Sudden oak death has previously been found in Florida. To prevent the spread of sudden oak death and protect host species, always purchase plants from a registered nursery, and report symptoms to the DPI Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.

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