When To Cut Down Oak Wilt Trees (Plus Prevention Tips)

Date March 03, 2023

Author TreeNewal Staff

Oak wilt is a common but serious disease that affects many species of oak trees throughout the Eastern United States. Trees become infected with oak wilt when they come into contact with a fungus called Ceratocystis fagacearum. Oak wilt inevitably leads to tree death, but there are effective ways to keep oak trees healthy. In this blog post, we’ll explain when to cut down oak wilt trees and how to prevent the disease, control its spread, and handle infected wood before it affects surrounding trees.

When To Cut Down Oak Wilt Trees

Image via Flickr by arlingtonnatl

There is no cure for oak wilt, so it’s important to remove infected trees. However, there are disease management factors to consider before cutting them down. Trees are most susceptible to becoming infected with oak wilt between April and July. Cutting down a tree with oak wilt that is still partially alive can cause the disease to spread, but removing it during the least vulnerable months can prevent this.

Preventing Oak Wilt

While cutting down a tree infected with oak wilt is necessary, there are methods for preventing the infection from occurring. Just as removing infected trees during much of spring or summer can spread the disease, pruning oak trees in high-transmission areas during this time can also make them prone to catching it. Maintaining oak trees from August through March is ideal for preventing oak wilt. Those who want to protect their trees from nearby cases of oak wilt can also contact an ISA Certified Arborist to apply fungicide as a preventive method.

Controlling the Spread of Oak Wilt

In areas where nearby trees have oak wilt, arborists can control its spread to surrounding oak trees. As early as August, they can start by creating a barrier line by cutting the roots of infected trees, which may come in contact with healthy tree roots. They can then treat the healthy trees with an annual fungicide and observe them for signs of oak wilt over the next few years, removing affected trees before April each year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends hiring an experienced professional to perform oak wilt control services.

Handling Infected Wood

The United States Department of Agriculture provides clear guidelines on handling the wood after cutting down a tree with oak wilt. Wood from trees that have not died completely before removal can develop spore mats, which attract nitidulid beetles that can carry the spores on their bodies and affect other trees. Covering the infected wood with a plastic tarp, burying the edges, and leaving it for six months is the first step in preventing the spread of oak wilt. Allowing it to air dry for an additional six months ensures the fungus dies.

Our Dallas Team Is Here To Help

If you have trees with oak wilt in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the experts at TreeNewal can help. We’ll evaluate your trees, inform you of your options, and provide you with timely and sustainable prevention, control, and management services. Contact us today at 972 777-4619 to get started.