How Can I Prevent My Trees From Getting Oak Wilt?

Prevention plays an important role in the management of oak wilt. Landowners and homeowners can take an active role in oak wilt prevention by taking the following steps:

  1. Avoid pruning or wounding oaks between February 1 and July 1. This is the time of year when oak wilt fungal mats are most likely to form and nitidulid beetles are active. If a nitidulid beetle carries oak wilt spores from a fungal mat to a fresh wound on an uninfected oak tree, the fungus could become established in the disease-free tree. The least hazardous periods for pruning are during the coldest days of midwinter or extended periods of hot weather in mid- to late summer.
  2. Sterilize/Sanitize all pruning equipment between trees using denatured methyl alcohol (shellac thinner), isopropyl alcohol, or a general purpose household disinfectant such as Lysol, Listerine, Pine-Sol or related products. Using household bleach is NOT recommended as it can be corrosive to pruning tools as well as people.
  3. Immediately paint all wounds on oaks to prevent contact with contaminated beetles. Wounds should be painted, regardless of the time of year they were made, with commercial tree wound dressing or latex paint (color doesn’t matter!). Wounds can be either man made or natural and include freshly-cut stumps and damaged surface roots.
  4. Do not transport or buy unseasoned firewood. Fungal mats may form on unseasoned red oak firewood infected with oak wilt making it possible to spread oak wilt to uninfected areas. Seasoned firewood (dried for at least one year) should not present a threat of spreading oak wilt. Also, burning infected wood cannot transmit oak wilt.
  5. Promptly remove and either burn or bury all red oaks that are dying or have been recently killed by oak wilt. Generally, this would be oak wilt-infected red oaks that die in the late summer or fall. This will prevent nitidulid beetles from spreading spores from fungal mats that may form on the trees in the fall or the following spring.

Show All Answers

1. What is Oak Wilt?
2. Can My Trees Get Oak Wilt?
3. Can Oak Wilt Spread?
4. How Can I Prevent My Trees From Getting Oak Wilt?
5. Does The City Have Cases of Oak Wilt Within City Limits?
6. Can Residents Receive Financial Assistance For Oak Wilt Abatement?
7. How Can I Help With Oak Wilt Abatement?
8. Where Can I Learn More About Oak Wilt?