If you’re looking at having a fence built and you have Oak trees blocking your intended fence line then you may want to be careful. Cutting or wounding an oak tree in your yard at the wrong time of year can have serious consequences for every other tree in your yard – and neighborhood for that matter.
The reason is a condition called “oak wilt,” which can kill red oak trees in a matter of weeks. White oak trees fare somewhat better, often simply becoming sickly and unattractive, but they can die as well.
Oak wilt is a fungal infection of the tree. It’s most commonly spread by sap-eating beetles.
Sap-eating beetles are attracted to a wounded oak. Whenever you prune an oak branch or cut down an oak tree the trees release a scent that attracts every sap eating beetle in the area for acres around.
The fungus doesn’t just affect a single tree, either. It gets deep into a tree’s roots, which means it’s easy for the fungus to spread to every other tree in your yard.
Sap-eating beetles are most active between April and July, and can remain active well into October. So if you have an oak tree that needs to be trimmed or removed to build your fence you may want to wait until fall.
Don’t worry. We do build fences in winter as long as the ground hasn’t frozen over yet.
The month of the year isn’t a hard and fast guideline, however. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources notes that sap beetle activity is all about temperature. If it’s hotter than 50 degrees outside then you might want to wait.
What if you need to prune a tree in hotter months, for safety reasons? You can mitigate the problem of oak wilt by using tree wound paint to avoid attracting the beetles.
Oak trees are majestic and are a great addition to most lawns and landscapes. Protect yours by staying aware of the oak wilt issue.
A-1 Fence is a trusted fence contractor in Mequon, Fox Point, and the rest of the Milwaukee metro area. Call us today for a free estimate on your new fence.
Image courtesy of DiggingInTheDriftless