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What Is Oak Wilt and How Can it Be Managed?

Thursday, September 22, 2011 @ 02:09 PM  posted by admin

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that can quickly damage or kill an oak tree. Caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, various tree species are at risk. A major sign is leaf discoloration, wilting, defoliation or death. Diseased trees are quite often the source and facilitate transfer of the disease through insect vectors or connections between tree roots.

Trees with wounds or diseased limbs are primary candidates for spreading oak wilt. Without a working professional knowledge of the disease, it’s impossible for the average property owner to know when the trees on their lot are under siege. Fungus mats may form beneath the bark of diseased oaks late in the fall and during early spring. Insects, which aid in the spread of oak wilt, are attracted by the odor of the fungus.

Fungus mats will commonly form on standing trees, but can just as easily develop on logs, stumps and firewood that’s been cut from diseased oak trees. It’s highly possible that sap-feeding beetles (nitidulid) are the culprits that emerge from a diseased tree and infect the wounds on a relatively healthy tree.

Oak Wilt Can Ravish Tree Roots

Oaks tend to grow in large groups with a series of interconnecting roots. It’s a proven fact that fungus is able to spread between the root connections and may be more easily spread in live oaks than in red oaks. Infection can spread an average rate of 75 feet per year, and up to 150 feet in any given direction.

Managing Oak Wilt Disease

There are generally three approaches to managing oak wilt disease, which include eliminating diseased oaks, properly handling firewood and treating or painting the wounds of healthy oak trees. A second approach could entail disrupting root connections between the trees. The third approach could be injecting a fungicide to help reduce fungus from spreading, which acts to preserve tree crown integrity. These measures may not cure oak wilt, cut can certainly help to reduce a significant number of tree losses.

It’s a challenge for the average person to identify the signs of tree damage or disease. If the damage isn’t discovered in time, it can destroy the tree, and worse, spread to other healthy trees on the properly. This is why it makes perfect sense to call the professional arborists at Wauson Tree Service who can give you a free assessment for all your property’s tree care and pruning needs.

Call Walt today for your free estimate at 214-450-8720, or email at walt {at} wausontreeservice {dot} com. Don’t go it alone. We’re the experts and Dallas residents know our expertise.

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