I have six large oak trees in my side yard, and last year one of them...

Asked September 23, 2014, 8:12 AM EDT

I have six large oak trees in my side yard, and last year one of them suddenly died. The man who came and took it down for us said he thought it had become infested with oak borers. Now a branch on another oak has brown, dead leaves and I'm wondering who to go to to confirm the diagnosis, and what to do to keep the other trees healthy if possible. I'd hate to lose them, but I also don't want to spray a lot of poisons around and harm the birds and other wildlife. Thanks! Alice Magorian

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Your dead tree may have had oak borers, but they did not cause it's demise. Oak borers come to trees which are already stressed or dying in some way. One possibility is drought. For several years we had droughts which weakened many big, old trees, and it can sometimes take years for them to succumb.
Your best bet is to have an on-site evaluation with a certified arborist to assess the situation. They are tree health experts (not just a cutter) who can remove dead wood and examine your trees for problems. You can search for one at www.treesaregood.org
We have not had appreciable rain in our area for a month. If you can offer these trees irrigation/water, now would be a good time.
Much more information about trees and their possible problems can be found on our website: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/trees-and-shrubs/trees-and-shrubs-cultural-and-environmental-problems