How do I know if my tree has Oak Wilt?
Oak Wilt is a fungus that infects all types of oak trees and is easily spread. Unfortunately, Red Oak Trees seem to be more susceptible to this fungus than most, but that does not mean other oak trees are immune to Oak Wilt, all oak trees can contract oak wilt.
The main season that red oaks contract oak wilt is during the spring. The ground is moist from long snow covered winters, and mold spores are eager to spread to find hosts to survive. Insects also emerge from their burrows during spring time and feed on the sap from trees starting to heal from the winter’s wrath. Oak bark beetles lay their eggs in oak sap and carry the oak wilt fungus from one tree to the next. After the oak bark beetles hatch and grow from larva to adult beetles, they are full of oak wilt fungus and spread the fungus again. This is a never ending cycle.
Red oaks start showing signs of oak wilt at the crown of the tree. The top leaves start to curl and change colors from dull greens, yellows and browns. The leaves also have a very water-soaked appearance, a wilting look. Eventually the fungus spreads down the branches and into the trunk of the tree. Red oak trees infested with oak wilt usually die within a year.
There is no way to heal or cure an oak tree once infected. The spores of oak wilt work their way into the intravascular level of the trees. Just as in humans, trees have veins that carry nutrients from root to tip. The trees at the top of the crown just happen to show signs first. The only way to stop the spread of oak wilt is to remove the tree and to separate the root system from other trees.
After a period of time, tree roots grow into a maze of intertwined roots. One tree can seed hundreds of trees, and all of these roots are connected. In order to stop the spread of oak wilt, that specific root system must be severed and the infected tree must be cut down. After the infected tree has been cut down, it must be burned, chipped and the remains covered with plastic for at least 60 days to insure the beetle and fungus spores are dead.The trunk of the tree should also be grinded down to ensure the tree is dead.
The certified arborist from All About Tree Care knows what an infected oak tree with oak wilt looks like, and will be able to advise you on the next steps for proper tree removal and will do an extensive check of any other trees you may have on your property.
When All About Tree Care does visit your home, ask them when it’s good time to prune your trees, if there is a specific season when trees should not be trimmed, and any other questions you have about tree care. If you have any questions regarding any trees in your yard, please feel free to contact us. If we do not answer, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Contact All About Tree Care for help with tree issues today!
Missouri Customers Call: 816.524.3073
Kansas Customers Call: 913.663.2988