News release from the Missouri Department of Conservation:
Look across any Ozarks landscape - urban or rural - and you'll see trees with plush, leafy canopies. Look closer, though, and you'll likely see occasional signs of another common forest sight at this time of year - tree diseases and tree pest problems.
Each summer, the green-up and leafing out of area trees brings on a variety of tree disease and tree pest problems. Because of the abundance of oak trees, one of this year's more noticeable tree problems is oak decline. This is a general term that covers several oak-related problems associated with tree stress - among the more common in this area are hypoxylon canker, armillaria root rot and problems caused by red oak borer beetles. All of these tree problems have their specific causes and descriptions, but they usually develop on trees that are stressed by various weather-related or human-caused factors. The end result is usually the same - the oak tree dies. Most of the trees affected by oak decline are in the red oak group.
Oak diseases and tree pests have been in the Ozarks as long as there have been oak trees, but incidence of these problems has increased due to drought conditions of recent years and extended periods of poor forestry management in the early 1900s.
Unfortunately there is no treatment for these conditions: Once an oak tree is showing symptoms of one of these problems, it is too late. If the tree can't overcome the problem on its own, it will die. In addition to hurting an area's aesthetics, this can also become problematic when a large, dead oak tree is near a building or power line.
Maintaining tree health and removing diseased trees is the best way to solve existing problems and prevent the spread of these diseases and the pests. Avoid damaging mature trees during construction and logging; avoid damaging trees while doing mowing and other yard maintenance jobs. Water high-value trees during periods of extreme drought.
Information and solutions for tree diseases and tree pest problems can be found at your nearest Missouri Department of Conservation office or at www.missouriconservation.org
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