Burr Oak Doesn't Look Good

Asked August 11, 2020, 10:16 AM EDT

We have a burr oak tree that is dying at the top, and we'd like to know if this tree can be salvaged. Woodpeckers have damaged part of the trunk.

St. Louis County Minnesota

3 Responses

Woodpeckers are looking for insects under the bark and rotted wood. It looks like the central leader of the tree has lost its leaves. Some pruning is probably necessary. To diagnose the problem a certified arborist should look at the tree. They can also check for disease. There is a serious disease of burr oak in MN.

You can submit a sample to the plant disease clinic yourself. Call them for specific instructions, there is a fee.
https://pdc.umn.edu/
https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional
Whether or not the tree can be helped will depend an accurate diagnosis. It really needs a “house call.”

May we use acorns from this tree to plant another one, or are the acorns adversely affected too?

https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/help-diseases/bur-oak-blight

There are fungicide treatments. I looked for acorns spread of the infection and it does not appear that they do. If you plant the acorns I would start about 5 and keep the best tree after a few years. Several trees would be insurance for a good tree.