Oak Wilt Prevention

Pruning live oak trees

Oak wilt prevention is simply trying to minimize the chances of oak wilt being brought to your property. How many opportunities for infection can you see in the picture shown here? Following proper pruning guidelines can prevent creating wounds that would attract the Nitidulidae beetle to your property. This sap feeding beetle carries the fungal spores to these wounds, infecting trees that will soon challenge neighboring trees through root graft transmission. Once oak wilt is on a property, preventative measures can be taken to protect nearby trees that will be threatened by the disease.

There are two types of prevention when discussing oak wilt management, preventative practices and preventative treatment. True prevention would be not creating new oak wilt infections and not allowing oak wilt to be brought onto or near your property. This is done by following proper pruning guidelines and preventative practices like painting all wounds and sterilizing equipment. Natural damage is always a possibility, but most new infections are created due to negligent pruning practices. If damage occurs due to weather or wildlife, you can paint the wound for peace of mind. However, wounds will naturally seal within 2-3 days of damage so the pest may have already come and gone by that point. Disease usually presents itself 2-3 months following infection with signs of thinning in the canopy and necrotic leaves. Caution should be taken when pruning back any damaged limb as that can attract the beetle as you cut back and expose live wood.

oak wilt treatment

The other type of prevention discussed regards reacting to oak wilt once it is on site. Preventative treatment with fungicide is used to protect healthy trees near disease. Treating the trees prior to being challenged will increase success rates as the trees will have good uptake, protecting against oak wilt as it moves through the root systems. Portions of the vascular system that are shut down due to infection will never be reopened so getting out ahead of disease is key for best results. Since treatment has a chemical life of approximately 2 years (depending on the size of tree), preventative treatments for oak wilt are only recommended for trees near disease. Usually, trees within 100ft of disease should be assessed for oak wilt management with injections. You should not treat and stress trees when oak wilt is not an active threat. Other preventative measures like oak wilt trenching can be utilized when applicable and can be used to prevent movement into new areas. Contact us if you have concerns about the health of your trees, or if you have any questions about oak wilt treatment and prevention.

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