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The original item was published from 3/20/2012 1:36:08 PM to 4/1/2012 12:05:08 AM.

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City of Stevens Point News

Posted on: March 20, 2012

[ARCHIVED] Stop Pruning Oak Trees

Due to unseasonably warm temperatures, the Stevens Point Forestry Department has stopped pruning oak trees and recommends that residents also refrain from wounding oak trees. Oak trees are susceptible to the fatal disease, Oak Wilt, now until October

Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, the Stevens Point Forestry Department has stopped pruning oak trees until October. It is recommended that residents also refrain from wounding oak trees. Normally, oak trees are susceptible to the fatal oak tree disease Oak Wilt (Ceratocystis fagacerarum) from April 1 to October 1, but the recent warm temperatures have pushed up that beginning date.

This year, if between mid-March and October 1, a property owner needs to remove a hazardous branch, or a developer wants to clear a lot, all stumps, wounds, and pruning cuts should be sealed immediately with pruning paint. Any paint will work, as long as wounds are immediately sealed. This only pertains to stumps, wounds, and pruning cuts made on oak trees.

New trees can be infected with oak wilt by sap feeding beetles that carry the oak wilt disease on their bodies. The beetles are active during these dates, and are attracted to new wounds on oaks to feed on the sap. In one research project, beetles were found feeding on oaks wounded only 15 minutes earlier. This is why it is so important to seal oak wounds and stumps immediately.

Once the disease infects an oak tree, it can move into its root system. Oak tree roots often graft together. When this happens the oak wilt disease can spread from oak tree to oak tree, and as a result the disease can spread from one property to the next. At that point it can be very difficult and expensive to control. Firewood from oak trees recently killed by oak wilt should be covered with a plastic tarp, and the sides sealed to the ground until the following fall. If this wood is not covered, it can attract the sap feeding beetles that spread the disease.

To help avoid a potentially costly situation incurred in actual costs of tree removal and oak wilt control measures, and the loss in property value associated with the loss of oaks, do not prune, wound, or remove oaks now until October 1.

For more information, call your local forestry department, or contact a certified arborist in the tree service section of the phone book.

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