If you see an oak tree suddenly lose leaves during August, report it to the New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The tree could have oak wilt, a very serious tree disease in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots and home landscapes.
Report suspected cases of oak wilt to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DEC and Department of Agriculture and Markets announced that oak wilt has been detected on Long Island in the Central Islip area of the town of Islip, Suffolk County.
This is the second location in New York where oak wilt has been confirmed. The first location was in Schenectady County in 2008 and 2013.
There is no known treatment to contain and kill the oak wilt fungus other than to remove the infected trees as well as any surrounding host oak trees, according to the press release.
Oak wilt is caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum. The fungus grows in the water-conducting vessels of host trees, causing the vessels to produce gummy plugs that prevent water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and eventually the tree dies.