Oak Trees and Fungus

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Oaks are prone to developing a wide array of fungal infections. One of the most common types of fungal disease is oak wilt, which affects all types of oak trees.

Oak Wilt

  • Oak wilt, a form of fungal infection, can be fatal to the oak tree. It causes leaves to drop and infects the tree bark.

Origin

  • Oak wilt was first identified as a major problem in Wisconsin in 1944. It has been seen in nearly half of the United States and is especially common in the Midwest.

Symptoms

  • Fungus infects the leaves first, causing them to wilt, turn brown, and drop. Red oaks may develop fungal mats under the bark, while white oaks have discolored annual rings.

Spreading

  • The oak wilt fungus is typically spread from diseased trees to healthy trees through natural root grafts. Sap and bark eating beetles also spread fungus from tree to tree.

Prevention/Solution

  • Oak wilt cannot be cured in infected trees. Remove diseased trees and place mechanical or chemical barriers between diseased and healthy trees to prevent the spread of oak wilt.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Paul Sapiano
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