Red Oak Disease?

Asked June 17, 2019, 8:30 AM EDT

I live in Frederick County and am having issues with a red oak in my front yard. The leaves yellowed and dropped early on portions of the crown last year and this year the leaves are stunted and distorted (see third photo, it kind of looks like they've been chewed by insects, but that's not the case). Some branches have also died and the crown is thin (second photo), but there are no indications of insects, fungus or other pathogens. I planted the tree about 20 years ago and it was previously very healthy. I couldn’t find any oak diseases that match the symptoms but it kind of looks like pesticide damage. The grass below and nearby trees/shrubs do show any signs of stress however, so the case is isolated to this one oak tree (first photo). Any ideas?

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

We viewed your photos. This does not look like an insect or disease issue. There is branch dieback and decline but we cannot say for sure why. The right photo looks like there may have been some damage in the bud (possible cold damage).
The grass looks good and the foliage in the mulch looks like old bulb foliage that is naturally dying back.

All you can do is prune dead wood and monitor the health of the tree. Water during dry periods. You may want to contact a certified arborist for an onsite diagnosis regarding the health of the tree and more information