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DNR officials remind homeowners to protect oak trees from deadly disease


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - DNR Officials are reminding people to leave their oak trees alone for the next few months to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt.

The early spring and summer months are the danger time for oak trees that are damaged or wounded because they are at a higher risk of contracting the deadly disease. Forest health specialist Brian Schwingle says oak wilt can kill a healthy tree in just one season, and that this time of year is when it spreads. "The oak wilt fungus is in bloom this time of year and the beetles that actually carry the disease are active."

Any action that provides an opening into the tree should be avoided if possible between April and July. That includes pruning, cutting roots with a lawnmower or attaching birdfeeders. If a tree in your yard is wounded accidentally, immediate wound treatment is necessary. Schwingle says if you're worried about a tree in your yard, you should contact the DNR or an arborist in your area to help take a look at the tree.

Oak wilt has been found across the area, and was most recently discovered in Lincoln County last year.

More information about oak wilt and other forest pests is available on the Wisconsin DNR website. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search the words “forest health”.