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Oak Wilt in Northern Wisconsin on the Rise

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently reported that Oak Wilt is on the rise in Northern Wisconsin and asked that residents refrain from tree pruning from April through July as a preventative measure meant to slow the spread of the disease in Northern Wisconsin. 

Oak Wilt Disease, which has in the past only been prevalent in the central and southern parts of the state is a fungal disease that affects the vascular system of the tree and eventually kills it. There are two ways in which this fast-spreading disease is transferred between trees- via root grafts and transported by insects. While scientists still have not identified all the insects that transport the fungal spores, sap-feeding beetles seem to be one of the biggest culprits, not because they themselves move far, but because they often live in transported firewood.

Both Red and White Oaks can become infected with Oak Wilt, but Red Oak is more susceptible, the disease kills Red Oaks more rapidly, and White Oak infections tend to affect only the branches. Because of this, it is recommended to only use White Oak as firewood and to only prune Red Oak trees during the winter months.

The two can be easily identified as red oak leaves have pointed tips, while white oak leaves have rounded tips.

Oak trees add so much beauty to the Northwoods, especially in the fall! Know how to spot Oak Wilt and help maintain our natural resources!

-    Wilted, curling and discolored leaves

-    Suckering at base of tree

-    Dead/dying crown of tree

-    Complete leaf drop by mid-summer

-    Slowly dying whole tree

*Sources: Wisconsin DNR, Elite Tree Care

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