Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trim Your Oaks NOW! Winter Pruning is Best to Protect Your Investment!

New home developments are abundant in the north metro Twin Cities. From Anoka through Chisago Counties and beyond there are many new communities that have sprung up from Blaine to North Branch. The lot prices can vary from $60,000 to over $200,000. What make one neighborhood more appealing and valuable than the other? Although location always plays a key role, another important factor is the landscape.

Are there any trees? A question often asked by clients as they start searching for a home. Many Minnesota farms have been developed into single family housing developments. While the flat open land was desirable for farming, it does not have the privacy and up north feel of a wooded lot with mature oaks.

If you are fortunate to have mature oak trees on your property, protect your investment!

What is Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt is a disease caused by a fungus which attacks the central system of the tree from the roots to the leaves. The tree attempts to block the fungus, but also blocks all water and nutrients to the branches and leaves. Eventually, the trees leaves wilt and it dies.

Oak wilt spreads through the root systems of near by trees and by fungus beetles that carry the oak wilt spores from tree to tree.

How to Protect Your Trees

The fungus beetles infect trees that have been recently injured or trimmed. These beetles are very active in the spring and summer months. Oaks should be protected from damage and not trimmed from April through July.

Trim large mature oaks now. As a preventative to spring storm damage, have your large oaks trimmed now so that heavy, dead branches won’t fall during tornado season and break other healthy limbs.

Consider Oaks When Planning Construction

If you are planning to built on your property this spring, plan the construction process to protect the trees. Discuss the situation with your builder and fence off the trees from the base of the truck to the branches.

Be prepared with tree paint and apply immediately to any wounds that accidentally occur.

Root System Protection

If an oak is infected on your property or a nearby neighboring property, your trees could be at risk through their intertwined root system. Oak roots travel up to 50 feet out. The fungus can pass underground from tree to tree.

To prevent spread, have the roots cut using a trencher or vibratory plow. The five foot blade severs the roots to protect neighboring trees. Root cutting should be done prior to tree removal.

Many cities in the north metro have tree protection programs and offer a low cost or free root cutting service in the fall.

If you have oak wilt in your neighborhood, doing nothing is not an option. Ignoring oak wilt will cause the lost of trees which directly relates to your property’s value.