Oak wilt in NY

Asked September 6, 2016, 7:59 PM EDT

Hi. I just heard last month oak wilt was discovered on Long Island. What's the difference between oak wilt and slim flaux? My 40 yr. old oak every spring for a few weeks oozes sap but then recovers...whats that mean? (no other visible signs that the tree is in trouble)

Westchester County New York urban forestry forest pests forestry horticulture

3 Responses

Dear WestchesterCo., NY, Thank you for writing to Extension with your Natural Resource questions. It sounds like your tree has slime flux (bacterial wetwood). Every year when your tree oozes, it smells like beer, right? There is a fungus that is living in the cambium layer of the tree. The fungus and the sap mix and begin fermentation. The pressure in the tree finds a weak spot in the bark and oozes out. Bacterial wetwood rarely kills a tree (there is no treatment for this). Oak wilt is a different beast altogether. Oak wilt is a pathogen that travels through the roots of a tree to another. If it gets into a group of trees the only way to stop it is to dig a 3-5' deep trench around the infected trees. The infected trees will die, but hopefully the pathogen was contained in soil around the dying trees. Without a new food source the pathogen will die. I trust this helps. Blessings. - Andy

Thank you so much. That clear and informative answer helps tremendously. Thank you sir. Take care.

You're welcome. Holler any time. - Andy