white Oak twig drop #157682 - Ask Extension


white Oak twig drop #157682

Asked October 19, 2013, 1:46 PM EDT

We have a 100 year old vigorously growing apparently healthy white oak tree growing in an open back yard in northern Delaware. Each fall for the past 10 years twigs from 2-5 years growth range die prematurely, and cleanly separate and fall along with their leaves, starting in September. The color of the wood at the separation is orange to red. Is this symptomatic of fungal disease, or is it a normal process of shedding excessive vegetative growth? There is no twig growth from the trunk of the tree. The twigs that drop are from the extremities of the major limbs. There is no indication of bore or other insect damage to the twigs that drop.

New Castle County Delaware

Expert Response

Hello, Without seeing the tree and the branches that fall, I would suspect that this is probably due to squirrels nipping the branch terminals off for use in nesting. They always nip off more branches than they can use this time of year, and actually do not use them if the drop all the way to the ground. This branch clipping loss will not harm the long term health of the tree. My best, Nancy
Nancy Gregory Replied October 21, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT

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