Oak Wilt Management

Once oak wilt has been established in a wooded area it can wipe out all of the other oaks in the area if a management strategy is NOT put in place. There are steps that can be taken to ensure the spread of the disease is stopped.

Leaves start turning brown and wilting from the margins inward. The tree starts to lose leaves as if it were autumn.

Oaks in the “Red Family” (Pin & Red) can die as soon as 4 weeks after the initial infection. Oak wilt can spread to nearby red oaks through the roots in the same growing season. Taking fast action will allow the most trees to be saved possible. Once a red oak has the disease it can NOT be saved.

Oaks in the “White Family” (Bur and White) can die within 1 year, live with it for a few years, or even beat it on their own.

Red Oak Infection:
1) Leave infected tree standing (removal can accelerate spread)!
2) Inject nearby healthy red and pin oaks.
3) Install a trench line to sever common roots.
4) Re-Inject oaks in 2 years.

White Oak Infection:
1) Determine if infected tree is worth saving.
2) If yes, inject with a fungicide, possible re-injection in 2 years.
3) If no, possibly inject nearby oaks, definitely keep a close watch.

Small holes are drilled into the tree’s vascular tissue at the tree’s root flare slightly below the soil, approximately 2.5 holes per 1” DBH. Tubing from a pressurized tank with the fungicide solution is then connected to all the holes in the tree. Through the process of transpiration the solution is taken into the trees vascular system and spreads throughout the canopy.

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Useful links:

U of M: Oak Wilt Info Forest Service: Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt




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