Oak trees declining #481367 - Ask Extension


Oak trees declining #481367

Asked August 28, 2018, 11:39 AM EDT

Hello. I’ve read what you’ve posted about oak trees declining. We have 6 red oaks on our property in Carroll County, and all 6 are in decline. They have been prematurely dropping leaves for a few years but this year is the worst. There is a 7th red oak on our property line that looks fine. The 6 trees are dropping a lot of leaves, which the posts say is not common in oak anthracnose or bacterial leaf scorch so could it be oak wilt? The bark is not splitting. Is there anything we can do to save the trees? Thank you for any help you can provide.

Carroll County Maryland

Expert Response

It is very difficult to assess the situation from pictures.  This does not look like oak wilt. We do see some insect feeding and anthracnose but this will not cause dieback.  You may be dealing with some cankers (trunk) and/or root issues.  It is possible that several roots have been affected. We do notice that you have used some type of herbicide around the trunk area to control weeds.  In the future, you should remove the grass at least several feet out and mulch with an organic mulch.  Make sure it is not thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the stem.  This will prevent string trimmer/mower damage to the trunk area.  
The good news is that we have had a good season for moisture.  Monitor and look for new growth next season.  Prune dead wood.  

We recommend that you have several certified arborists come for an onsite diagnosis regarding the health of the trees and the best way to proceed.  You can always check back with us after this.


Here is a link for certified arborists


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