Red Oak appears to be dying

Asked April 27, 2019, 8:57 PM EDT

Over 20 years ago, I planted a red oak, which did well until last fall, when it lost its leaves very early. This spring, there are very few leaves - just a small bunch at the top. There appear to be some buds on lower limbs, but they are not changing into leaves very quickly, if at all. Below are some pictures. Can you help us figure out the reason? If not, who can? Will we have to take it down, or is there a possibility of saving it? Pictures attached. Note - in our neighborhood, the country took down 20+ Alder trees because of concerns about some disease.

Howard County Maryland abiotic issues oak tree oak declining

1 Response

Your tree has declined too much to be saved. Since we don't see any disease or insect issues, it may have been general stress issues.

Here is a helpful fact sheet for determining when to remove a tree: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/how-do-you-decide-when-remove-tree

Incidentally, we suspect the neighborhood trees that were removed were probably ash trees being taken down in advance of infestation by the emerald ash borer which is killing all the (untreated) ash trees in Maryland.

Ellen