The Q&A Archives: California Pepper Tree & Oak Root Fungus

Question: I'm replacing a large eucalyptus (died from old age) along a mixed-hedge fence line. Based on my preferences--soft appearance, year-round screen, showy, low-water--I find the California Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) satisfies my criterea. However, I'm told that Oak Root Fungus is endemic in my area. How susceptable is the Pepper Tree?

The location I have in mind is well-drained.


Answer: Schinus is not terribly susceptible to Armillaria mellea (Oak Root Fungus) so it would be a good choice for replacement of your eucalyptus. Oak root fungus sustains itself on buried wood (mostly dead roots), and susceptible plants can contract the disease through direct contact with infected roots. If you have not lost plants to this fungus, it shouldn't be present in your soil, and should not be a cause for concern.

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