Oaks dying

Asked June 22, 2020, 11:58 AM EDT

Is the black growth in the attached pictures the cause of this oaks decline? Are insects responsible? I have a huge increase in moles, are they a cause or result? Is there a Recommended treatment ?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

4 Responses

We did not receive your photos of the oak tree. Please attach to this reply so we can see what you may be dealing with. Send photos of the whole tree, affected foliage, trunk, etc. In general, Moles feed on soil insects like earthworms and grubs and are not a reason for decline.

You did not mention if there is branch dieback or what the canopy of the tree looks like looks like. If your oak has lost about a third of its canopy over the last two years, there may be other problems going on. We would need to have more information about the type of oak, the conditions in which it is growing, and any other symptoms you have observed. There were a lot of problems reported with oak trees in 2019 and the excessive rain of 2018 is believed to have contributed to loss of white oaks especially (due to root damage).

Take a look at this article from our plant pathologist: Why Are So Many Oaks Dying This Year? https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2019/10/01/why-are-so-many-oak-trees-dying-this-year/

This publication goes into even more detail about the current situation with oak






Thank you for the response. Attached are photos. I believe it is a chestnut oak, also a white oak suffering similar decline.

Photos attached

Thank you for the response. Attached are photos. I believe it is a chestnut oak, also a white oak suffering similar decline.

Photos attached

Given the extent of the crown loss and apparent late-stage ailment, we recommend you consult with a certified arborist. If needed, you can search for one via the second and third links on this page: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/how-do-you-decide-when-remove-tree. In addition to tree health they are also trained in risk assessment (in terms of likelihood of failure and collapse) for safety of people and structures. If the damage is too extensive, they will probably recommend removal, as treatment may be impractical or ineffective at this point.

Miri