Best Management Practice Success at Central Coast Wilds
By Maddie Ginn and Ellen Uhler
Water molds, a group of plant pathogens in the genus Phytophthora, wreak havoc worldwide in both wildlands and cultivated acreages. Over 200 species of Phytophthora are recognized by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), and the widely known disease, Sudden Oak Death (SOD), is caused by one such species, Phytophthora ramorum. By 2014 SOD killed over 50 million trees in California and Oregon alone. Little is known in regards to how to “cure” plants infected with Phytophthora sp., and thus prevention is the most efficient method we know to reduce new introductions of these species into the wild.
Central Coast Wilds nursery uses Best Management Practices, or “BMP’s”, as our ultimate weapon to prevent Phytophthora species from infecting native plants grown for habitat restoration projects. Our nursery follows a stringent set of clean production protocols which was researched by the Working Group for Phytophthoras in Native Habitats and promoted by agencies such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
Best Management Practices (BMP) systems approach to clean production is quite comprehensive. Our approach includes extensive and meticulous precautions such as heat sterilization of all potting mixes, maintaining all production processes and plant propagation on sterilized tables inside a secured perimeter, and maintaining extensive records of all aspects of production. In 2018 Central Coast Wilds grew over 100 batches of BMP plants. Before shipping, these plants must be tested for the presence of Phytophthora. The multiple layers of testing have revealed a 100% success rate in preventing Phytophthora inoculation of our nursery stock.
Central Coast Wilds Nursery is one of seven businesses currently participating in the pilot “Accreditation to Improve Restoration and Native Plant Nursery Stock Cleanliness” (AIR) program, sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. This program seeks to standardize BMP protocols throughout California, creating the highest standards and the best practices to prevent soil-borne pathogens from infecting nursery stock.
Landscaping with clean, BMP-grown plants will ensure that we protect our parks, restoration projects, homegardens, and California’s beautiful wildlands from plant disease and death for years to come. If you’d like to do your part in preventing further introduction of not only Phytophthora species, but other dangerous pathogens and disease through clean planting, please feel free to stop by the nursery or contact us with any inquiries. We offer a wide variety of California natives for both restoration projects and ecological landscapes.