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News Brief

Feb. 27, 2024Des Moines, Iowa |  By: Jeremy Werner

Iowa DNR asks residents to stop pruning oak trees

oak tree

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is urging residents to halt pruning oak trees immediately to curb the spread of oak wilt, a fungal disease that poses a threat to Iowa's oak population.

The usual pruning deadline of March 15 has been moved up due to the unusually warm February. To prevent oak wilt transmission, pruning should cease immediately.

Oak wilt, caused by a fungus, primarily affects red, black, and pin oak trees, but white and bur oaks are also susceptible.

Infected trees, especially black, pin, or red oak, can die within the same summer they contract the disease, while white and bur oaks may take several years to succumb.

Symptoms of oak wilt, such as bronzed brown leaves with green remnants, typically manifest in June or July, starting from the tree's top. Prevention involves avoiding wounds to oak trees during the growing season.

If unavoidable, wounds from storm damage or pruning should be promptly treated with wound dressing like acrylic paint.