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Oak Tree Disease
updated: Feb 11, 2013, 8:01 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

A subscriber noticed a case of oak tree disease. Is there anything that can be done to prevent further damage?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 373495P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:10 PM

Looks like sidewaysitis. . .


 COMMENT 373506 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:42 PM

Are you sure its Oak Tree Disease?

My Dad had a problem with his oak trees in Los Olivos years ago and many looked like this photo. Turned out after a soil test that the soil needed to be amended with minerals, the dead limbs removed and the base of each tree needed to be tilled and rocks put down for better drainage.

After a bit of work he saved all the trees. They are in their 40's now and gorgeous :)

I did find an article about sudden oak death from the New York Times in 2011. Looks like there could be a solution for residential trees. Try Google'ing California oak tree disease.


 COMMENT 373515 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:59 PM

Call an arborist or qualified landscaper.


 COMMENT 373540P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 10:51 PM

I think the tree is pretty healthy. Pretty sure it's mine. It's 3 stories tall & I keep an eye on it; I love it and look out for it. Well over 40 years old; was well and professionally trimmed a couple years ago; dropping tons of acorns and NO oak caterpillar threads or bugs, just moths.

When was pic taken? What street is it on? What neighborhood?

Really, I'm 99% sure it's mine. Advice welcome; it's very dear & important to me. And it does NOT get watered; I think that has added to its health & longevity.


 COMMENT 373543P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 12:06 AM

Ok. Is it just me, or are these postings a bit weird?


 COMMENT 373557 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 06:29 AM

I don't think it's disease but rather twig girdler activity, where an insect encircles the twig, cutting off the flow of sap so the branchlet dies beyond that point. A lot of local oaks had a bad case of this a few years ago but they all recovered. Treatment would be to cut off the dead twigs to improve the appearance of the tree, but it's not really necessary. Oaks have been surviving these outbreaks for ages.


 COMMENT 373558P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 06:31 AM

The posts by the potential owner are pretty weird, yes! I say get an arborist out there or call the city to find out if they can send someone to check it out if it is out near the street because if it is a sick or dying tree those things can fall and hurt people. If not, then the owner should consult with an arborist and help the tree get back into optimum health!


 COMMENT 373562P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 06:44 AM

Looks like twig girdler to me, too, which is only an appearance concern. Just prune off the dead stuff cutting back to live material.


 COMMENT 373574 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 07:14 AM

515 Call an Arborist yes, but not a landscaper. Arborists are the experts in this field.


 COMMENT 373575P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 07:16 AM

Wherever you see moths you will eventually see other bugs. It is all part of their life cycle.


 COMMENT 373580 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 07:32 AM

What is oak tree disease? Not in any literature, nor known to arborists. Kinda like saying "human body disease", ummm cold, flu, cancer, indigestion, bad hair day?

If there oak moths present, a preventative spray of Bt will keep the resultant caterpillagers at bay.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 07:57 AM

Why is it verging on an invasion of privacy to show pictures taken from the street? Everyone walking by can see the same thing. No one can tell the address from the photo of the Oak. Mellow out.


 COMMENT 373624P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 08:58 AM

Called "flagging" by my arborist, this is apparently the result of insect larvae that encircles and kills a branch (as noted). The recommendation is to cut the dead material off some reasonable distance from the site and destroy the branches I'm told.


 COMMENT 373632P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 09:10 AM

During the dry season, it is all right, my arborist said, to water deeply once a month, especially if the winter has not been produced enough rain to wet the tree's deeper roots thoroughly. Never watering is O.K. for non-stressed trees or younger trees, but old city-stressed trees need some water even during the summer. I notice that some of the "dead" parts on our trees have put out new leaves in the last two months after this rainy winter. An arborist can look at the bark and around the base of the tree, maybe will suggest more mulch. We were told to keep the oak's own fallen leaves where they fall, for mulch and for fertilizer.


 COMMENT 374298 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-14 09:57 AM

'flagging' refers to a branch tip that has been broken or has lost its connection to its vascular system support. The branch tip then wilts and hangs down like a 'flag'. Flagging is not a disease.

Artemisia nailed it. This is just tip die-off, it will not transfer to older branches, and is caused by an insect 'girdling' the bark , thus cutting off vascular flow to the tissue past the girdled area.

It is not serious, just unsightly. The Co Ag advisors can confirm this. No need to hire an arborist unless there are other problems suspected of compromising the tree like poor drainage, soil compaction or paving over the root zone, poorly done pruning, etc.


 COMMENT 374299P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-14 10:00 AM

Not sudden oak decline (a disease). This manifests as the entire tree truning rusty red over just a matter of weeks. There is no cure for SOD.

Also, there is not something called 'Oak Tree Disease'.


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