Contributors to this thread:
I have a massive oak tree the wind blew down. I would like to cut it up into firewood this summer. Will that risk bringing Oak Wilt to my property? I live in northern Marathon County
GJG: If the oak you’re chopping up was dead and had oak wilt it certainly becomes a risk. Oak wilt basically can be spread through roots or through the tree itself, as a fungus. Tree-tree itself is completed through a beetle that feeds on sap, which carries the fungi spores to new trees. The overall health of the oak that had fallen is the variable. I always error on the side of caution unless the tree is in a location where it has to be cut and moved.
You can't spread oak wilt by cutting a tree that is already down. If that tree is already infected the root grafts have already spread to adjacent trees. The only other way to infect other trees would be by damaging them.
GJG, the way I look at it, those darn beetles are something I don’t want attracted to my properties en mass.
You will hear all kinds of opinions, just like when CWD is involved. I always take the most conservative approach, and me, I would wait until July 4th or later before cutting/splitting so not to attract beetles that may have fungus on their toes.
Oak Wilt is awful. I take all recommendations seriously and add a safety factor to protect my healthy veneer trees.
Be cautious, oak wilt sucks and can change your landscape/ecosystem in a hurry. We only cut oaks November-April. Btw I am no expert but have dealt with oak wilt and I hate it.
If an oak gets infected with oak wilt is it a fast or slow death? I have a nice big oak on each side of my house. One is looking good, the other one had been slowly going downhill for about 4 years now. Fewer leafs, smaller leafs, the leafs that are left seem to hang on longer after going brown in the fall. I have other huge oaks in the yard farther from the house, so far they look good.
Jeff in MN, the answer is...it depends. A lot of variables. It is alway good to have solitary oaks, or ones that have root structures separate.
Many confuse decline of oaks (and other trees) with a disease. A decline in an established tree can happen for several reasons. Case in point, look at the trees across the road from the place that sells kittens for $20 (or strawberries in season). That woodlot has been decimated simply by cows compacting the soil. Huge oaks now dying, bark eaten and rubbed off for an f’in feedlot. Sorry, I digress.
So, pay attention to any root disturbances, either heavy equipment or cows running around the house.
As much as we try to protect our oaks, all it can take is a windstorm to open a wound for a beetle to walk.
You have seen how when I planted trees, I separate rows of oak with other tree species so if Oak wilt did start, the root zones are separate from adjacent rows of oaks.
In the end, keep a watchful eye and don’t move wood off or onto the property. I once offered my neighbor free propane if he would quit bringing oak home to burn. He was getting free oak from coworkers and it was taken from an OW hot zone. Fortunately, they moved away not long after my offer.
What is the period when you are not supposed to do any pruning?
Again, this depends. Avoid larger branches late winter.
The guidance, notice GUIDANCE, says you may be ok after July 4th. Do not springtime prune oaks from April to July 4th.
This is where I am conservative. I won’t prune oaks outside of complete dormancy. For me, that is November 15 to March 1. I only prune over winter to avoid ANY chance of s weeping wound.
Others will disagree, but the old adage is true, “better safe than sorry”!
My particular oak was just old. I bet it is 48" in diameter. It was obviously here before the rest of the woods began from its limb structure (limbs began 3' from the ground like a bush).
That is cool, a wolf tree. Count back the rings and see what you end up with. You may need a magnifying glass and push pins.