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Team corners culprit in sudden oak death

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6:03pm, April 7, 2003

After 5 years of mystery, California pathologists announced Monday that they may have found the cause of a new disease that makes oak trees ooze red liquid and then die.

The disease, sudden oak death, seems to come from a previously unknown species of the microscopic, funguslike Phytophthora genus, says David Rizzo, a plant pathologist at the University of California, Davis. He and other members of the University of California oak-research team presented their findings at one of their study sites in Marin County.

So far, three species common in coastal woodlands have proved vulnerable: tan oak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), and black oak (Quercus kelloggii).

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