Posted: December 11, 2015

Once winter sets in Rochester and Winona, MN, you may think it's time to take a break from yard work for a few months. Temperatures are dropping, morning dew is becoming morning frost, and a few hours outside with trimming shears suddenly sounds much less appealing. Unfortunately, the year-round workers at Maier Tree and Lawn can attest to the fact that some yard issues don't take the season off. Winter is a good time to address some particular types of tree care that you may have set aside in the warmer months, such as addressing oak wilt.

Oak wilt is a tree fungus common to areas of Minnesota. As the name suggests, the fungus impacts only oak trees. Oak wilt can be spread from tree to tree and, infection through the roots or through insect activity can lead to the death of the tree. For owners and growers of many varieties of oak, this can be a devastating way to lose a long-standing tree.

Some signs of oak wilt that you may be able to spot on your oak include browning leaves and rapid loss of leaves. If you notice signs of your tree dying or dropping leaves before fall, it may be an indication that something is wrong. It is spread from tree to tree and oaks growing in groves are likely to become infected in groups. One tree will be symptomatic and within two weeks all of the neighboring trees are looking sick too.

When it comes to preventing a tree fungus, timing can be very important. If your oak has been infected and is beyond treatment, the winter months can be a great time to remove the tree. Pruning  a living oak in the winter, as opposed to summer, can prevent the tree from becoming infected. If you're looking to save your tree from oak wilt instead of removing it, contact the professional arborists at Maier Tree and Lawn for a specialized consultation. Oak wilt is preventable, though it is very dangerous if left unchecked.

Winter is a good time for tree-owners to evaluate the health and status of their trees, and if something looks off, it's also a good time to ask for help. Oak wilt may not be dangerous to humans, but in a densely wooded area it can become a big problem very quickly. If you have any questions about oak wilt or tree care, contact Maier Tree and Lawn at 507.286.8733 (Rochester) or 507.454.7000 (Winona), or visit our website!

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