Summer 2013-A Tale of Two Oaks

Summer 2013-A Tale of Two Oaks

By: Jake Kubisiak Certified Arborist

The First Oak – A Tragedy

My first real job was as a county park maintenance worker. The work included mowing, cleaning
toilets, painting, and lots of other maintenance work. One summer my job involved removing the
numerous tree stumps from our campgrounds. Over 200 oaks had died from Oak Wilt. It radically changed the campgrounds. Why did all these trees die? Was there a way to prevent this disease
loss of trees? At the time I only knew that Oak Wilt was a nasty disease that seemed inevitable. As the story of the first oak ends in tragedy the next story is yet to be told.

The mighty Oak is a useful and beautiful tree. Whether in a group or a single tree, Oaks are
usually one of the more valued trees in the landscape. Oaks provide shade, food and housing for
wildlife, and provide a source of quality wood products. The species can often survive for several
generations even as long as 250 years. One weak spot is often the dreaded disease known as Oak Wilt.

Avoid the spread of Oak Wilt by:

‘Wilts’ are a group of fungal diseases that grow inside a trees water conducting tissues. This
causes the tree to form tyloses or balloon-like bumps that restrict water flow causing a ‘wilt’ response in the canopy. Verticillium Wilt, Dutch Elm Disease, Pine Wilt, and Yellows Disease are among this group of serious tree diseases. Oak Wilt is common in southern Wisconsin. This disease is spread from
tree to tree by either sap feeding beetles feeding on infected trees and vectoring the disease to a healthy tree, or more commonly through the root system via grafting below ground.

How do you know if this disease might be causing problems in your woods?

  • Leaf drop during summer season – leaves on ground are a mix of green, partially tan/brown, to completely tan/brown.

  • Nearby oaks have either died with in the same season or the last couple of years.

  • If a twig sample can be gathered by an arborist we often find a discoloration of the wood under the bark surface. Laboratory testing can help confirm oak wilt. 

Oaks in the “red oak” family are more susceptible to Oak Wilt. This ‘family’ includes Red, Pin,
Black and other species that have pointed tip leaves. The “white oak” family trees are less
susceptible. This ‘family’ of trees includes: Bur, White, Swamp White and others with rounded lobe leaves.

  • Do not make pruning cuts during the ‘growing’ season of about April 1 – October 1.
    This attracts beetles carrying Oak Wilt spores that could vector the disease to your trees.

  • Do not damage oaks during construction activities. Not only does this injure the tree and reduce vigor, but these wounds will also attract beetles to the fresh sap.

  • Do not delay the removal of infected trees. Diseased trees should be removed and stumps
    should be treated to detract beetle attention.

  • Being vigilant of any oaks in your area showing symptoms of infection. Once an infection
    is found nearby or on your property the disease is far more difficult to control.

  • An Arborist may determine that trenching between infected and uninfected trees is necessary to severe any grafted tree roots below grade.

  • Fungicide injections can also be implemented to treat this disease.

  • Do not delay the removal of infected trees. Diseased trees should be removed and stumps
    should be treated to detract beetle attention.

  • Being vigilant of any oaks in your area showing symptoms of infection. Once an infection
    is found nearby or on your property the disease is far more difficult to control.

  • An Arborist may determine that trenching between infected and uninfected trees is necessary to severe any grafted tree roots below grade.

  • Fungicide injections can also be implemented to treat this disease.

The story of the second oak is not yet told. If you have a concern about your oaks trees and the potential risk of Oak Wilt infection do not hesitate to contact your Wachtel Arborist for an inspection and recommendation of steps to control this potentially devastating disease.

Return to Newsletters

 

Request a Consultant

Interested in having one of our qualified staff contact you about your trees and landscaping? Let us know your ZIP code and we'll let you know who's in your area.


Request a Municipal Specialist

Specialized Services:

  • Urban Forest Management
  • Tree Preservation Planning Involving Wooded Sites
  • Corporate Campus Tree Mapping & Assessment

Click to Contact

Testimonials

  • Robert & Dorothy Miller - Mequon

    " Tree removal was recommended, we had a contract, the job was completed on Tuesday. We are very pleased, excellent team work. Thank you to Anthony."

  • John K. - Waukesha

    "Always pleased with how you keep our trees happy and healthy!  Thanks!"

Winter tree care and pruning newsletter

Seasonal Tree Care Newsletter

Read More

International Society of Arboriculture The Tree Care Industry Association Wisconsin Arborist Association TCIA Member
80

YEARS

of tree care

1935
2017