Decline of 4 oak trees

Asked May 11, 2018, 8:53 AM EDT

We have 4 oak trees that have died within the last year or two. Recently I read the Pathology Bulletin report on Sudden Oak Death/Ramorum Blight and wondered about the possibility of that being the reason . All other trees on our property look healthy. See attachments. We were planning on cutting them down, until I saw the bulletin. What do you suggest?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

To date, Sudden Oak Death has not been found infecting oak trees in Maryland. Once a tree is dead it is sometimes very difficult to determine what caused the trees to decline. There is not enough information in your photos for definitive diagnosis. We cannot see the whole tree, the canopy of the trees, and branches. If you need on onsite diagnosis regarding the health of the trees , please contact a certified arborist

Left photo - this looks like an old wound and rot. Consider removal.

Middle photo - Looks like possible slime flux. The wound allows entry by some form of bacteria which causes the sap in the vascular system to ferment and bubble out of the wound. Typically, it flows down the trunk for some distance and will often encourage the formation of a harmless, but unattractive, black 'sooty mold'. Insects such as wasps may be attracted to the odor.
This is usually harmless and no control is necessary. Monitor the tree for other symptoms and keep watered during dry periods.
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We cannot see the canopy of the tree and any decline.

Right photo - We notice lichens but they are not a reason for decline. We cannot see the canopy of the trees and what you may be dealing with.