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Black Oak Battle Update

Posted by jack , Jul 06,2005,00:14       Forum

I started an effort to save my Black Oak last Spring of 04' and continue these updates to let people know how it's going. It's a 90' tall tree over 100 years old in an area known for it's Oaks. Spring 04' a similar tree in the wood lot next door came up totally dead, another one in the wood lot looked sickly,as did one across the street. My Black Oak had one whole major limb dead (30% of tree)and a big sap leak on the trunk. I found insect bore holes in the dead tree and mine, Chestnut Borers, White Oak Borers, Nitald Beetles among others. I excised all the insects from the tree I could, removed compacted soil and brush from the tree base (where most insects were), replaced the insect contaminated soil about the base, used insecticide and fertilizer sparingly. By the end of last year, the sickly tree in the wood lot was the same, my tree was very healthy except for the 30% dead, the tree across the street dropped it leaves way early in the Fall.
This year the sickly tree in the wood lot has been joined by another and both look weaker than last year, the tree across the street looks 90% dead, my tree so far looks healthy and the sap leak has stopped. This year I plan to treat the 2 sickly trees in the wood lot next to mine the same as I did mine last year, couldn't hurt.
Others have said that the boring insects I got rid of last year probably are not what's killing trees, from literature I've read this is probably true, but they certainly don't help the trees, and can spread Oak diseases like Oak Wilt and Sudden Oak Death.
I'd guess about 15% of the big Oaks around this area (Southern Great Lakes region North America) are dying this year, no one seems to know why or care. It's hard to believe that at this years rate, these trees that have survived around here for 100's of years could ALL be gone only 6 years from now.

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