I have a 26+ year old pin oak that suddenly has many bare/dead branches this...

Asked September 22, 2015, 8:07 AM EDT

I have a 26+ year old pin oak that suddenly has many bare/dead branches this year. A neighbor's younger pin oak, about 60 feet away, seems to have the same problem. What might be wrong, and what should we do? Thanks.

Dakota County Minnesota

3 Responses

You have not given us a lot of information to work with. We do not know if the branches are scattered throughout the tree or at the top, working their way down. Please check the descriptions and photos in these links and see if any of them match what you are seeing: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/deciduous/oak/branchesdead.html http://www.extension.umn.edu/environment/trees-woodlands/oak-wilt-in-minnesota/

Hi, Barb - Unfortunately, the question area is just an empty box with no diagnostic prompts, so an inexperienced tree person like myself would not know on the first go-round what sort of information to provide. Thanks for helping me to understand what you need.
At first just the lower branches of the tree were affected. I don't believe they leafed out at all, as I do not recall a drop off or discoloration of leaves. As the season progressed to full leaf, it became obvious that approx 50% of the tree is affected, all the way to the top, with no obvious pattern of defoliation, other than if a branch is affected, it is the whole branch. I cannot recall any changes to the bark, but when a branch came down, it had darkened in the center. What else can I check on to help you?

The symptoms of branches dying from the bottom up don't seem to match any situation I can define. A mature oak is a valuable tree and it would be a shame to lose it. I would like to suggest that you contact a certified arborist and have them come out and make a diagnosis. You can find one for your area by visiting: http://www.treesaregood.com/Home.aspx and clicking on Find An Arborist. It will allow you to put in your zip code.