Michigan DNR: Do not prune, cut down oak trees

Oaks are most susceptible to oak wilt April 15-July 15

Leaves from a tree affected by oak wilt may be green, brown or a combination of both. Above is a sample from an oak tree in New York, taken by Karen Snover-Clift, director Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, in 2017. (Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Leaves from a tree affected by oak wilt may be green, brown or a combination of both. Above is a sample from an oak tree in New York, taken by Karen Snover-Clift, director Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, in 2017. (Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Thinking about trimming or cutting down one of your oak trees? Better wait a couple of months.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to avoid cutting or trimming of oak trees between April 15 and July 15 to curb the spread of oak wilt.

According to a news release from the Michigan DNR, oak wilt is “a serious fungal disease that can weaken white oaks and kill red oak trees within weeks of infection.”

It spreads from tree to tree primarily three ways:

1. through the trees’ root systems;

2. By moving infected firewood to another location; and

3. By picnic beetles transferring spores from an infected tree to a freshly pruned or injured tree.

“The guidelines against pruning oak trees during this time can help prevent the spread of the disease,” James Wieferich, forest health specialist in the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, said in the news release.

To help mitigate the spread of oak wilt, the Michigan DNR makes the following suggestions:

• Do not move firewood from one location to another.

• Avoid pruning oak trees between April 15 and July 15.

• If an oak tree gets damaged during this time, cover wounds with tree-wound paint or latex-based paint as soon as possible.

• Watch for oaks that suddenly drops their leaves during the summer. Leaves may be green, brown or a combination of both.

• Report suspected oak wilt at michigan.gov/foresthealth, by emailing DNR-FRD-Forest-Health@Michigan.gov or calling or 517-284-5866.

For more information, visit michiganoakwilt.org or michigan.gov/foresthealth.