Oak trees are magnificent parts of our landscapes. So when they begin to show signs of disease or infestation, it is only natural for us to be concerned. Learn about Oak Wilt, a common tree disease that may be the cause of your current Oak tree problems.
Oak Wilt is one of the most common infectious tree diseases in the country. It is caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum. This invasive fungus enters a tree’s vascular tissues and incapacitates the water transportation lines within the tree. And without sufficient levels of water, a tree cannot survive.
Which Oak Trees are Susceptible?
All Oak trees can become victims of Oak Wilt, however, there are some species that seem to be more susceptible than others. Red Oaks, namely Spanish Oaks, are highly-susceptible, while on the other end of the spectrum, White Oaks are resistant to Ceratocystis fagacearum and are hardly ever affected by the disease.
Is Oak Wilt Contagious?
Oak Wilt is spread in one of two ways. The fungus can be carried from tree to tree by beetles and other insects, or it can spread through grafting roof. If you have an Oak tree that is currently affected, and it is located next to another Oak, there is a good chance the disease will spread through the root systems. However, the disease can also travel over long distances with the help of insects.
What are the Signs of Oak Wilt?
Although signs are hard to tell, you can try inspect your trees to determine whether or not Oak Wilt is to blame for their decline. Most often, laboratory cultures are the only way to truly know if Oak Wilt is present. White oaks exhibit leaf decline, such as wilting leaves, discolored leaves, dropping leaves, and dead leaves, while Red oaks barely show any signs at all. You will need a licensed tree care contractor to help with your tree diagnosis.
How Do I Protect My Tree From Oak Wilt?
Unfortunately, there is no way to control the spread of Oak Wilt, but there are ways to protect your tree from becoming infected. Preventative maintenance is the key to preventing Oak Wilt. This involve routine tree care, such as pruning, fertilizing, and spraying. Proper pruning is important to prevent open wounds in trees. For this same reason, you must also take extreme care when mowing the lawn or weed-trimming. It is also important to properly dispose of trees that were infected, otherwise, spreading will likely occur. An insecticide spray can be used prior to infection, as well.
Is it Possible to Cure an Infected Oak Tree?
Once a tree is infected with Ceratocystis fagacearum, it is a challenge to treat unless the tree is fairly young. The most common technique is to sever the root connections in order to stop the transmission of the fungus. However, this is not always a success if there is a large Oak Wilt epidemic in the area. There are no other current chemical treatments for Oak Wilt. Tree removal and root disconnection are the most effective treatments available.