Have there been any problems reported w/ mature Chestnut Oaks (Querqus prinus) in the Damascus, MD area? Neighbors have noticed a decline in several mature Chestnut Oaks over past few years, including reduced size of leaves. These trees are located in upland wooded, stream valley area behind residences. The age range of trees from seedlings to possibly 40-50+ years.
Yes, we have gotten reports of mature chestnut oaks dying in Maryland. They do not have a particular disease or blight. However, Maryland went through about 7 years of drought before having 2 years of heavy rains (plus this year, which was just okay.) Those drought years stressed chestnut and red oaks especially. This allowed secondary problems to infect the trees causing reduced growth (including leaf size) and decline, so we are seeing the long term effects of drought now.
Young trees should not be as affected by this, however changes in their environment such as eliminating leaf litter and surrounding trees with turf (which is very competetive), plus deer browse (deer overpopulation), has had a devastating effect on young oaks.