Thursday, September 24, 2015

How Is Oak Wilt Affecting Trees In Michigan, and What Can Be Done To Prevent This Problem?

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that is becoming a problem with oak trees here in Michigan. It's most detrimental to red oaks, and any red oak variety. It's a terrible shame to have a lethal disease attacking some of our most prized and majestic trees, some of which can be 100 years old. These trees are an important part of our ecosystem and add lots of value to property, so there's many reasons to be careful with addressing an oak wilt problem quickly, and even taking many preventative measures if you happen to have oak trees on your property, especially of red oak variety. The white oaks are not as susceptible for reasons unbeknownst to me, but it wouldn't hurt to treat them the same.

Considering the value of oaks to Michigan, everyone must do their part in saving them. There's a rule to pruning oak trees in the fall and winter, which True Cut has always stood by and practices. You prune oaks when they are dormant to avoid an open wound that can potentially attract the insects that transmit this fungal infection. This is said to be the best way in battling this disease because the insects are less able to transmit the disease if there is no wound on the tree. If there happens to be a situation that makes cutting the tree unavoidable, or if there is damage done by a storm, sealing the cut or wound immediately with pruning paint is something you must do, or you might have a dead oak within a few months.

Another thing you can do is get the trees a fungicide injection. It can get a little pricey, but removing a dead tree will be extremely  costly and something none of us want to see happen.

An infected tree needs to be removed immediately, there is no saving it. There are things that need to be done to keep it from spreading if other oaks are close by. A several feet deep trench gets dug to stop the spread, if there are close oaks that could possibly have grafted roots. The proper removal of infected trees is also something that a knowledgeable company should be doing.

A lot of times homeowners are unaware of these things and let any willing company do work on their trees to save money, but its usually these companies that do not care about the wellbeing of your trees and will prune any time of the year if it gets them the job. Companies that are uninsured and not licensed don't usually have the knowledge of tree disease and prevention and if they don't care about being insured then they probably don't care if they do something that could be detrimental to our oak population. And that kind of pisses us off, because we'd much rather be taking care of LIVE trees, than removing dead ones.

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If you think you might have a tree that is infected, or are interested in learning about some options in fungicide treatments if you have oaks on your property, please give Frank a call at (248) 798-5909.

And also call for information on when it'll be safe to prune those oaks. Til then, enjoy the beautiful sunny days of the beginning of Autumn!