It is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, which is spread by sap beetles. The beetles feed on the sap of infected trees and then carry the fungus to healthy trees. Once the fungus enters a tree, it blocks the flow of water and nutrients, causing the tree to wilt and die.
There are a number of things that can be done to prevent oak wilt, including:
- Avoiding pruning oak trees during the spring and summer months. This is when the trees are most susceptible to infection. If pruning is necessary, be sure to seal all wounds with a tree sealer.
- Removing any dead or dying oak trees from your property. These trees can serve as a source of infection for healthy trees.
- Not stacking oak firewood near or against other oak trees
- Not transporting firewood from areas where oak wilt is present. The fungus can be spread on firewood.
- Planting resistant oak species. Some oak species are more resistant to oak wilt than others.
Oak wilt was first identified in the United States in 1944 in the Chicago area. It has since spread to 24 states, primarily in the Midwest and Northeast. The disease is most common in red oaks, but it can also infect other oak species, such as white oaks, bur oaks, and pin oaks.
There is no cure for oak wilt, but there are a number of things that can be done to prevent its spread. By following the tips above, you can help to protect your oak trees from this devastating disease.
Here are some additional tips for preventing oak wilt:
- Plant oaks that are resistant to the disease. Some resistant oak species include bur oak, chinkapin oak, swamp white oak, and willow oak.
- Avoid planting oaks near each other. This will help to reduce the risk of infection from infected trees.
- Water your oak trees regularly. This will help to strengthen the trees and make them more resistant to infection.
- Monitor your oak trees for signs of infection. If you see any wilting or dead branches, contact a certified arborist for diagnosis and treatment.