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Managing Oak Wilt

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Guy Sternberg

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 209–216

Abstract

Oak wilt disease (Bretziella fagacearum, syn. Ceratocystis agacearum, also described under Endoconidiophora fagacearum with its asexual stage Chalara quercina) is a fatal systemic vascular fungus transmitted by multiple methods. It is closely analogous to Dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma ulmi, syn. Ceratocystis ulmi) in Ulmus. Oak wilt is fatal to most (probably all) oak taxa that are infected, and it is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Eastern and Central U.S. Oak wilt could be considered the most serious of all oak pathogens due to its broad and expanding range, its consistently fatal results, and the number of susceptible species. The Plant Collections Network (PCN) oak collection at Starhill Forest Arboretum (Illinois, USA) has dealt successfully with this problem on two occasions, with some trees being killed each time before eradication has been completed. Treatment practice includes root separation between trees, fungicide injection, tree removal, stump treatment, and follow-up observation, with critical timing and application protocols being followed.

Keywords

oak wilt, Starhill Forest, Bretziella fagacearum