Posted: May 11, 2021

As members of the Rochester, MN, community, it’s part of our responsibility at Maier Tree and Lawn to protect the trees that surround our city. Sometimes this means providing basic care or implementing damage mitigation after storms. However, other times, it means collaborating to ensure that dangerous tree diseases like oak wilt don’t spread in our area. Maier Tree and Lawn is committed to providing tree disease consultations and disseminating information to ensure that all of our local trees live long and healthy lives.

What Does Oak Wilt Do To Trees?

True to its name, oak wilt prompts extreme and rapid wilting of leaves among oak trees. Signs of the disease include everything from wet-looking, wilted leaves to necrosis (death) of the leaf tips, especially throughout the tree crown. With enough leaf damage and leaf loss, the trees may lose their ability to adequately gather and process essential nutrients. This disruption can quickly lead to tree death.

Which Trees Are Impacted?

Oak trees are, appropriately, the most vulnerable tree category when it comes to oak wilt, with red oaks being the most visibly and dramatically impacted by the tree disease. In fact, a red oak that has been infected can wilt completely in as little as six weeks! Though any oak species is susceptible, the signs and symptoms may vary slightly based on the specific tree type in question. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult a tree disease professional like Maier Tree and Lawn when tree health begins to wane.

Once a tree contracts oak wilt, it can quickly spread the disease to surrounding oak trees. This is especially true in heavily forested areas that have a high density of oak trees and intricate, interconnected root systems.

How Can I Do My Part?

It’s important to remember that oak wilt is highly contagious. It can be spread by insects, by root grafting, or via exposure to diseased wood. Part of keeping your trees and Minnesota forests safe means staying educated and aware of the progression of this tree disease as well as other risk factors that surround it. Some simple steps you can take include limiting firewood transport and learning to recognize common signs and symptoms of oak wilt before trimming or disposing of branches.

Rochester, MN, area residents can take steps today to ensure that local forests and trees survive tomorrow. When it comes to tree diseases, it’s difficult to underestimate the power of education. If you suspect that oak wilt or another tree disease is impacting your local trees, call Maier Tree and Lawn now at (507) 286–8733 or visit our website here for additional details.

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