Understanding and Managing Sudden Oak Death in California Dealing with cut bay—

Leave cut California bay on site if possible to minimize the risk of spreading P. ramorum. The main options for disposing of cut California bay are noted below.

Lop and scatter. This is the most practical method in locations well away from roads or structures, and may be used in other areas if the amount of cut material is not excessive. The main stem and branches are cut into sections that lie low to the ground and are spread out to avoid stacking. California bay debris treated in this manner dries out quickly and decays substantially within one to two years. As a precaution, keep cut California bay foliage at least 2 m (6.5 ft) away from trunks of SOD-susceptible oaks. This is especially important if damp weather will prevent drying and allow foliage to serve as a potential inoculum source for many days or weeks.

Chipping. In areas where it is undesirable to leave cut material on the ground, branches can be chipped. Preferably, both chipping and disposal should occur on site to avoid possible spread of inoculum to other areas. Set the chipper so that chipped material is not deposited on trunks of susceptible oaks. Clean all potentially infested debris out of the chipper and truck before it they are moved from an infested area (see Sidebar 3-1—Cleaning Contaminated Tools and Equipment). 

Pile and burn. In some sites, it may be possible to pile cut California bay branches for later burning. Local fire and air quality regulations should be checked before contemplating this option. Set burn piles well away from retained trees to avoid scorching tree canopies or damaging shallow roots that are present beneath the duff layer. Burn piles can cause excessive heating of the soil which can have long term negative effects on soil properties, soil microbes, and the soil seed bank. Keep burn piles relatively small and include only small diameter branches to help minimize soil heating and associated negative impacts.