Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Oak Wilt—A Minnesota Tragedy

Owning an acreage property with mature towering oaks and pines is the dream of many buyers. As a Realtor in Anoka County just north of the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, I show many clients homes country homes in the communities of Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Linwood and Forest Lake. Most home buyers dream of their own little Tara, the O’Hara’s picturesque estate in Gone with the Wind. The curb appeal cannot be denied when the car pulls up to a home offset by the majestic beauty of an old oak tree that took decades to create. How sad to see these trees dying a slow death caused by oak wilt.

These photos taken yesterday document the devastating disease that is oak wilt as it slowly kills these trees on a property that is for sale in Ham Lake. Note the bright green leaves near the bottom of the tree and dead and dying branches near the top.

This particular property is near my own home. The property is now corporate-owned but the previous owner did not take the threat seriously when first notified of the oak wilt problem on his land. He cut down the infected trees as soon as he was notified without waiting until late fall or winter when he was less likely to spread the disease. He dragged the wood and branches to the rear of his property and burned them at his leisure. He did not cover the unburned wood securely with black plastic. He did not believe that his trees were killed by oak wilt; a costly mistake.
The next year this homeowner was notified again by the
City of Ham Lake as more trees were tagged as infected with oak wilt. Again, he took the route of cut the diseased trees down quickly and ignored the directions to avoid further infection to the trees on his property and those of his neighbors. After all, in this property owners mind, it is not oak wilt.
Last August, with the for sale sign in the yard due to an out-of-state relocation, the
tree inspector from the city added five, new orange spray-painted stripes to the trees on the property. The next day a tree service showed up and removed the tagged trees. Again without regard to instructions that could prevent this continuing devastation to these stately oaks. The once private sanctuary that these stately old oaks provided is gone. The house is clearly visible from the street.

The Ham Lake tree inspector will be back in July and there are at the very least seven more oaks that will don that bright orange stripe. Hopefully, when a new owner is found, he will take more care with the remaining trees on the property. Oak wilt is a tragedy that may not have been prevented but could have been
minimized with proper care. Even if new trees were to be planted tomorrow, it will be decades before the wooded beauty of this country lot will be restored.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007