Oak Wilt is a highly contagious, lethal, disease that strikes Red Oaks – the most common oak variety in our neighborhood. A Strawberry Point Bluffs resident recently detected Oak Wilt in a tree on his property and is having the tree removed and a barrier trench dug around its root system.
Oak Wilt normally infects a tree when pruning, or storm damage, exposes the wood of the tree during the growing season – any time that the tree sap runs during warm weather. The smell of the exposed sap attracts bugs that carry the lethal disease to the tree. Aside from that airborne infection, Oak Wilt can also spread from tree-to-tree by grafting of their root systems, when two adjacent trees with overlapping roots exchange fluids. Once infected, a tree usually dies within a few months.
Read more about Oak Wilt, its prevention, and your responsibility in removing infected tress in this article from the MSU Cooperative Extensions Service.