Our Forests are in a constant battle

I may be new to Michigan, but I have been keeping up and researching all the diseases and invasive species that are affecting our forests today…its kinda my job.

Michigan, like other states, has been dealing with the detrimental loss of their ash trees.  Now I hope this has opened the eyes to forest landowners and everyone in the state that we need to stay up to date and aware of the problems our trees are battling each day. We can not stand by and think that if it is not in our back yards today does not mean it wont be tomorrow.

So, this oak wilt I mentioned in the title…its ugly and scary.  It moves fast and because it has two modes of going from tree to tree its even scarier! ahh!! But we can not run…Stand tall Michigan oak owners, I am here to tell you about it and help stop the spread!

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that can spread through the root systems as well as through a beetle.  First off, the beetle it finds injuries or freshly pruned branches and gets in the oak tree and feeds on the sap. The spores of the fungus then stick onto the beetle and can be transferred to the next tree the beetle goes to.  The second way it spreads is through the root systems.  Oaks are connected by grafts on the root systems and the fungus can spread through the grafts.  Causing pockets of oaks to be infected quickly and die.  The red oak group dies quickly and when caught is too late and there is no injection that can be given to prevent or stop it.  Once a red oak is infected it only takes 2 weeks for it to die completely.  The management for this is to remove the oak, roots and all, and also remove all the surrounding oaks because they are most likely infected already.  The white oak group is also at risk but there its a slower death and can be injected to prevent the wilt.  The fungus gets into the water vessels of the tree and causes the leaves to wilt and turn brown.  To identify it starts at the outer edges of the leaf and moves in.

What to do:

Be Aware, do not injure your oaks, do not move firewood AND STOP pruning your oaks now until July or even better until fall time!!  April 15th is not only tax day it is also the cut of to stop pruning!! Spring is a major time for folks to move firewood…please stop! Buy firewood locally. 


USDA photo
USDA photo: Oak wilt pattern on leaves
Porcupine hanging out! They may be a nuisance, but save the oaks for them too! :)
Porcupine hanging out! They may be a nuisance, but save the oaks for them too! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Heads up…Oak Wilt

    1. Yeah, its not good and cannot catch it until one dies usually then you have to move fast and get the rest out of there. There are so many diseases and invasive’s threatening our native trees/shrubs, plants, and grasses. I read up briefly on that moth you mentioned…eek!


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