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Naturalists on SC coast worry about live oaks

Aug 30, 2010 8:49:00 AM - thestate.com
If it were a television show, it might be called "Oak Tree CSI."

Naturalists are trying to find out what's killing branches of live oaks along the South Carolina coast.

The Beaufort Gazette reported Monday that branches dying on oaks throughout Beaufort County.

Sudden oak death is a disease that has claimed oaks in California. But that disease hasn't appeared in the Beaufort area and some think the problem may be something less ominous - squirrels.

Michael Murphy owns a local tree service and says squirrels gnaw at branches, making cuts in the bark that kills the outer branch. Murphy says storms could also be part of the problem.