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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - May 14, 2012

From: Stillwater, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doings and has a small fungus attached to the bottom of bark. I also noticed an influx of beetles with greenish metalflake tint.

ANSWER:

You didn't say what oak your client has; some oaks are more susceptible to certain diseases than others. Our first thought when a diseased tree is brought to our attention is Oak Wilt, which is more predominant in red oaks, live oaks, than in others, like white oaks.

Here are some websites you need to look at:

Texas Oak Wilt.org Oak Wilt Spread - includes pictures of the nitidulid beetles, which transmit the disease

Diseases in Oklahoma Oak Trees

TexasOakWilt.org - Home page, links to more articles about disease

Video of Oak Wilt

Images of Oak Wilt and Sudden Oak Death

Frankly, this is really something that should be looked at by a licensed arborist. If it is Oak Wilt, there is no cure, but the tree should be taken down in order to protect other oaks in the vicinity. Please note in the articles the precautions that should be taken when cutting down or pruning an oak tree.

 

 

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