The 2007 oak wilt season is upon us! To prevent the spread of devastating disease, it is imperative to follow the guidelines for oak wilt prevention. Do not prune, damage or cut down oak trees during the growing season from May 1 through September 30.
- During the Spring and early summer months of May and June, oaks are at especially high risk to this highly contagious, landscape changing disease.
- Any wood or branches taken down over the winter that is infected with oak wilt, needs to remain covered under black plastic and completely sealed until after July 1.
- During the summer if you sustain storm damage and lose a limb from an oak on your property, immediately paint the wound with black tree paint to seal the wound and prevent exposure to the oak wilt fungus.
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. For additional information on oak wilt from the University of MN Extention Service CLICK HERE.
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.
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