Oak wilt trenching is used to help stop the movement of oak wilt, by severing root systems between diseased and healthy trees. Since oak wilt is in the root systems up to 80ft from where you see active symptoms, trenches must be cut at a minimum of 100ft from disease. This can make trenching in tight residential areas difficult to qualify trench paths as 100ft from disease can consume several properties. However, when oak wilt trenching is applicable, it should be considered as it is the only way to stop disease movement and can help protect other areas from being challenged.
Success rates of oak wilt suppression trenches can depend on several factors. Trenches typically yield success rates around 70-75% with most breakouts attributed to deep root issues or simply from trenches being cut too close to disease. Trench plans and placement is critical as cutting too close to disease could end up with a compromised trench from the start. Other breakouts can occur do to lingering disease and delayed challenging of the path, allowing for regraft and eventual disease movement beyond the trench. Monitoring for root depth and flagging any potential problem areas for further excavation could also be necessary depending on the soil composition.
When developing oak wilt management plans, all factors should be considered to help increase success rates over time. If an oak wilt trench is put in place then there are more than likely trees left on the “bad side” of the trench, that will eventually be challenged by oak wilt. The healthy trees could either be removed, along with the diseased trees, or treated with fungicide to help minimize the amount of time oak wilt is in the area. Contact us if you believe your property may be in need of oak wilt trenching service, or if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your trees.