Created: June 22, 2021 05:54 PM
The Minnesota DNR says they have confirmed the first sighting of the invasive fungal disease deadly oak wilt in Crow Wing County. The non-native disease kills all species of oak in Minnesota. The DNR says oak wilt is now located in 40 Minnesota counties, and has slowly been spreading north.
According to a press release from the DNR, several infected oak trees on private land on the east side of Gull Lake were identified by the University of Minnesota Plant Disease Clinic laboratory. This location is 20 miles north of the previous northernmost location of oak wilt in this region.
The DNR says it will treat this small oak wilt pocket in the fall. They will continue to monitor the surrounding area for new oak wilt infections.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds area residents and visitors to avoid pruning oak trees until August and not move firewood.
“The best thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of this deadly disease is to not prune oaks from April through July – the highest risk period for oak wilt transmission,” Rachael Dube, Northwest Region forest health specialist said in the release.
Pruning during this time, Dube said, can make trees vulnerable to sap beetles that carry oak wilt spores from infected trees to fresh cuts, promoting spread of the disease. She cautions residents to limit pruning to November through March when there is no risk of oak wilt transmission through wounds.
Oak trees within a 20-mile radius of any known oak wilt location are at high risk of developing the disease. With this new detection, oaks in much of Crow Wing County and southern Cass County are now threatened. Brainerd, Breezy Point, Crosby, Cross Lake, Ironton, Jenkins, Lake Shore, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Pine River are in the high-risk zone.
For more details on oak wilt prevention and how best to deal with infected trees and wood, see the DNR’s oak wilt management webpage.
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