Oak trees dying

Asked August 23, 2019, 3:44 PM EDT

I have noticed a lot of oak trees dying in the long point community in Pasadena. These are well established oak of at least 40-50 years that I would think would not be affected by drought. They had green leaves on them earlier this summer and they are all turning brown and falling off. I have two such trees in my own yard. Is there some kind of disease attacking these trees? I don’t see any signs of insect infestation. Is this only in my area or is it more widespread?

Anne Arundel County Maryland oaks abiotic issues trees oaks dying oaks declining all oaks dying

1 Response

Oaks are dying all over the region, unfortunately. There is no one cause. For such a situation to occur over many species of oaks and a wide area, it is probably an environmental problem-- multiple years of drought and higher summer temperatures are a possibility. Climate change is making itself felt here. Also, white oaks are intolerant of water-logged soils. Last year's excessively wet weather may have contributed to the problem. When trees are stressed by unfavorable environmental conditions, they become more susceptible to pest and disease issues as well. But, for the vast majority of these trees, neither disease nor insects are what send it into decline originally.

Some oaks are dying of bacterial leaf scorch, but this is not common on white oaks. Oak wilt is not active in Maryland generally. Here is more about those diseases: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/why-oak-trees-are-declining

Take a look at this publication about oak decline. https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP675.pdf

There isn't really much you can do to "reverse" decline in mature oak trees, unfortunately. Wait until next spring to see if the tree puts out any new growth. If it does not, then it is finished. You could consult with a certified arborist if you would like to have the tree evaluated. You can find an arborist near you using this website from the International Society of Arboriculture. http://www.treesaregood.org/