Understanding Oak Wilt

Oak trees are especially prized for their lovely forms and their expansive, shade-giving branches. Yet to ensure that your oak trees remain happy and healthy for years to come, it is important that you arm yourself with information about one of their greatest threats: oak wilt. This debilitating disease can quickly decimate an oak tree if not treated in time. If you would like to learn more about stopping the spread of this disease, read on. This article will teach you about how oak wilt spreads, and the signs that a tree may have become infected.

The Basics

Like many tree diseases, oak wilt is the result of a destructive fungus. In this case, the name of the fungus is Ceratocystis fagacaerum. For reasons that are yet unknown, this fungus only tends to affect trees in certain regions of the country. Its prevalence is especially problematic in Midwestern states such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. Yet it is also clear that oak wilt is slowly spreading--and learning how to infect more and more oak trees as it does.

Oak Wilt Transmission

As with all tree diseases, it is highly important to understand the ways in which oak wilt is transmitted. Here there are two main pathways. The first involves a species of insect: the sap beetle. These beetles are drawn toward oak trees that have died as the result of oak wilt. It is believed that this attraction has to do with certain types of chemicals present in the fungal spore mats around such trees. In the course of their movements, the beetles then transmit fungal spores to healthy oak trees.

Oak wilt is also capable of being transmitted below ground. It passes through the intertwined roots of nearby oaks and thus is able to make its way from infected tree to healthy trees. This method of transmission is especially worrisome in oak forests and in areas where oaks are located close to one another; it is not as much of a worry when it comes to isolated oaks.

Recognizing Oak Wilt

Oak wilt's symptoms vary depending on the particular type of oak, with red and white oaks being the most drastically different. A red oak that has contracted the disease will begin to show wilting and discoloration along the outer portions of its leaves. This discoloration will slowly move inward toward the leaf's rib. As the disease progresses, the leaf will progressively brown and then drop away. Such leaf loss may take place within several weeks of infection.

The discoloration patterns of white oaks are somewhat different. In general, they still tend to progress from the outside to the inside of the leak--but the discolorations will not be as uniform as with red oaks. Likewise, the leaves will not brown quite as quickly. To learn more, contact a tree company like D. C. Tree Service