Oak wilt & vascular system

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
Had a huge red oak lose a 16" limb over the last windstorm. the stub is about 12ft long, of course broken at the end. Can I cut it back to the trunk now, or wait until the dormant season to create that wound?
Can/will oak wilt make its way into the trunk's main vascular system via the 12' broken stub between now and October? Just trying to figure out the best time to remove the broken stub.
Cheers
 

Brocky

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
The exposed wood attracts the wood borers that might be carrying the fungus. I would make a cut to produce the smallest amount of exposed wood and spray with shellac for now. To be real safe leave a stub, spray the end and cover with a plastic bag. Make finish cut in winter.
 

CjM

Active Member
Location
Asheville
I would cut back to the best lateral or even a sprout regardless of aspect ratio to help draw energy out to the wound as long as you can before the removal cut.

A 16" wound is going to expose a lot of heartwood. I would try to retrench and retain that limb.

A tree risk seminar I attended last year began by defining trees as woody stemmed perennials that shed. Food for thought.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
I would cut back to the best lateral or even a sprout regardless of aspect ratio to help draw energy out to the wound as long as you can before the removal cut.
No laterals available, just 16" of Oak limb to the split wound. I'll square off the split wound and leave the stub, and finish the branch collar cut in dormancy.

But I'm still curious about the speed or the "effectiveness" of a tree's vascular system - and if research has shown how long it can take a vascular system to move contaminants from a wound 2/3 the way up the tree throughout the rest of the tree/roots. I've heard Oak wilt can kill a red oak in as little as 4-6 weeks, but I'm unsure if that's with a root wound or not.

Cheers
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
Your long stub may begin to sprout epicormics which would be a good thing for retrenchment to begin. We had the largest tree in the county take a hit from a down burst in 2016 and loose 1/3 of its crown. It is retrenching beautifully.

On movement through vascular system, research from the late '80s or early '90s on elms showed that DED fungus could actively travel several meters a day during the active growing season.
 
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CjM

Active Member
Location
Asheville
What's the plan for the tree long term? Would the client be into some wait and see regarding new sprouts on the broken limb? When I hear 16" cut, regardless of species, I'm thinking lots of soil work and close attention to the whole tree are also in order.

We don't really have a problem with oak wilt down this way, intriguing question though how fast it can kill an individual. Are there other infected trees around it? I understand oak wilt can spread through root grafting.

Around here red oaks, especially northern reds, seem exceptionally prone to large pockets of white rot and hollowness- another reason I'd be looking to leave the 261 on the ground here. Will the tree be better able to fight this particular fungal infection with a heading cut in smaller wood? 16" limb seems like it's high aspect, and probably has a diminished branch protection zone behind the collar.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
I can just square it up for now, maybe new sprouts will show up. A squared cut at the end of stub will still be 15”.
 

CjM

Active Member
Location
Asheville
True, I'm just rethinking your question. If a large removal cut at the trunk is avoided, it might not matter so much how fast infection spreads or the best time to make the cut.

I'm wondering if the tree has written this limb off entirely. Shedding parts of big limbs is just part of the mature oak jive.
 

Diggity

New Member
Location
State College
I think your best bet is to cut as you’re saying right now to clean the break and leave a long stub. Be sure to spray the cut with a pruning sealer. Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that the insects bring to the tree similar to DED the trees vascular system clogs itself up to protect itself, instead killing it. Once the tell-tale symptoms of oak wilt are recognized (green and half-brown leaves falling like its October) the tree is already dead.

In my area a couple of townships adopted Oak Wilt mitigation plans which include:
1. No pruning April 1 - Nov. 1
2. Any confirmed case results in immediate removal. Roots are trenches and pruned to minimizing transmission through grafts. All red oaks within 200’ are injected with Alamo as a preventative. All white oaks within 100’
3. Stump will be removed and all brush and wood are to be removed from site

Just something to think about. Oak wilt is not something to mess with. Bruce Fraedrich said that bark beetle has been recorded to feed on live tissue within 30 minutes of that tissue being exposed.
 

Brocky

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
From a workshop a few years ago shellac was recommended, maybe the bug hits the alcohol based sealer and soon forgets what it’s suppose to be doing.
 

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