May 11, 2009

Oak wilt disease warning issued in Wis.

Arborists in Wisconsin say action must be taken to protect oak trees in the southeastern portion of the state from spreading oak wilt disease.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Sunday while oak wilt disease has been present in Wisconsin for a long time, the cousin of Dutch elm disease has been becoming more prevalent in the state of late.

It's getting worse and worse, tree care consultant David Farina said of the ongoing spread of oak wilt disease, which is spread via the trees' roots or by beetles.

It's certainly not under control, agreed Dennis Fermenich, city forester for Greenfield, Wis. I've seen it progress at a rather steady pace.

Oak wilt disease typically takes at least a few weeks to kill an infected tree, making the tree shed its leaves and eventually succumb.

The Journal Sentinel said oak tree owners can protect their trees by not pruning them between April and September and by using injections of fungicide to kill the fungal infection.