This disease has been killing thousands of oak trees in the eastern United States each year. It is fatal for red oaks, including northern red oak, pin oak, scarlet oak and black oak. White oaks can survive. Below ground, the fungus spreads through tree roots and above ground by beetles that feed on tree sap and bark. Beetles can spread oak wilt spores throughout an area of several miles.
What to do?
- Learn to recognize the symptoms of oak wilt including leaf discoloration, branch dieback, and fungal spore mats.
- Avoid pruning or wounding oak trees in the spring and summer, when spore mats are present and beetles are the most active. If an oak wound occurs during spring or summer, it should be sealed immediately with wound dressing. This will slow wound recovery but also deter beetles from landing on those areas – which will reduce the risk of oak wilt spreading.
- Prune oaks in the dormant season
- Use tree care professionals.
For more information contact Mike Sperber owner of Natures Guardian Inc., and a NY Certified Arborist at 631 204-1970.
*Information obtained by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and Riverhead Local