New oak wilt locations found

State urges public to help stop spread of this untreatable disease


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  • Oak wilt (Photo: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)



Oak wilt, a deadly fungal disease of oak trees, was discovered in two new locations in the Town of Glenville, Schenectady County

Staff from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation conducting aerial surveys found one infection site. The other was reported by a homeowner.

The state will be establishing a protective zone encompassing the two Glenville locations. Removal of oak wood or firewood of any species from the protective zone will be prohibited.

Since no effective chemical treatment for oak wilt currently exists, the state will use other treatment methods at each location, depending on site characteristics. These can include:

Removing and destroying infected trees

Cutting down a buffer of adjacent trees

Digging trenches to prevent spread from one oak to another through roots

How to protect oak treesPrune oaks between October and February, not during the growing season, when insects are active. Oak wilt can be spread by beetles attracted to freshly cut or injured trees.

Follow the rules of the protective zone.

Learn to identify oak wilt's symptoms: discoloration around the entire leaf edge (see photo); sudden loss of a substantial portion of leaves during the summer

Use local firewood. Firewood can transport oak wilt and other deadly pests and diseases to new areas.

Contact DEC's Forest Health toll-free information line at 1-866-640-0652 with questions, or email photos of tree symptoms to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. Also visit DEC's oak wilt webpage.

About oak wilt protective zones

An oak wilt protective zone is a quarantine area put in place around a neighborhood, town or county after oak wilt is confirmed there. Oak wilt protective zones have been established in the towns of Canandaigua and Glenville, the borough of Brooklyn, and all of Suffolk County.
The goal of a protective zone is to prevent the spread of the disease by prohibiting the movement of potentially infected oak wood. Oak wilt can be spread by beetles that come into contact with fungal spore mats which form under the bark of trees killed by the disease. These spore mats can attract several kinds of beetles which pick up the spores as they crawl around. When these beetles fly to new trees, they bring the fungus with them, potentially spreading the disease to new areas. Infected oak firewood, logs, and branch debris can also contain spore mats, so moving these materials contributes to the spread of the disease.
Prohibited from leaving the protective zone:
Oak logs or branches
Wood pieces less than 29 inches long, no matter the species
Allowed to leave the protective zone:
Chipped wood (must be 1 inch by 1 inch or smaller)
Wood pieces 29 inches long or greater from trees other than oak
Once wood is cut to firewood size, it is difficult to tell one species from another. To account for the difficulty in identification and make sure no infected oak wood is moved out of the protective zone, wood pieces less than 29 inches in length are prohibited from leaving the area, regardless of species.
Source: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation


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