Oak bark disease?

Asked November 11, 2019, 7:44 PM EST

We have several trees on Main Creek in Anne Arundel County that have the problems shown. Can you tell us what it is and what to do? Thank you.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

These trees are not showing the same issues.
First photo: This looks like mechanical injury, not disease or insects. It's impossible for us to say what damaged its bark.

2nd photo: There are small patches of blue-green lichen on the bark. This is benign because lichen is a combination of algae and fungi and only uses trees for support. It does not damage or feed on the tree.

3rd photo: This appears to be an oak with extensive bark loss over an area of dead wood. Oaks in the mid-Atlantic have been dying as a rapid rate recently, primarily old oaks. It is not caused by a disease or insect, but rather a combination of climate conditions such as drought, abnormally high (drowning)rainfall, heat, etc. Here is more about this situation: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/ipmnet/Maryland%20Pest%20Aler...

Although the article above refers to white oaks, other oak species and hickories are also declining and dying in large numbers.

We can only recommend replanting, as oaks are a pivital species, crucial to the ecosystem and young oak are more resilient. Be sure to cage and protect saplings from deer feeding and bark rubbing for several years.