Is this oak dying?

   #1  

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
Lots of oaks here, some are very old and all doing well with green leaves. In first picture you see the one. I noticed leaves turning brown shriveling up and falling.
It's not that old, I've been here forty years and that's about how old it is.
I assume it's dying but can't figure out why?
20210912_184658.jpg
20210912_185021.jpg
20210912_184737.jpg
 
   #3  
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
261
Location
Rolling hills north of historic Leesburg, VA
Tractor
Kubota B3200, L2550, Ingersoll 7020, 2 walk behind Gravely's and a Yanmar Vi0-45 mini-ex
I've had the Virginia Forestry fellow out here, as well as Davey Tree, to look at dying oaks. Here in Virginia, our oaks are dying from a fungus that was introduced/first identified, in Wisconsin in 1919, from global warming, and from old age. Davey said they could introduce an insecticide every other year, which has a 50% affective rate. $300 a tree a treatment. Also said to mimic a forest bed - mulch. While Davey said the mulch should cover a 3 foot radius, I disagree. I think the mulch should extend to the drip line. My neighbor, who has oaks in the lawn, plans to try the mulch. My oaks are in my forest (50 acres), and there are too many of them a $300 a pop. Those oaks have a forest floor, so I don't see that adding the mulch will be that effective. I've lost some beautiful oaks, towering 80 feet. The trees leave behind the issue of disposal. A dead, 80 foot tree, at forest edge, is a safety hazard, a challenge to cut (10' circumference trunk) and leave a lot to dispose. I'm not in the firewood business, and around here, we can't give away uncut timber, standing or not.
 
   #4  

plowhog

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Messages
2,328
Location
North. NV, North. CA
Tractor
Massey 1710 / 1758, Ventrac 4500Y / TD9
I assume it's dying but can't figure out why?
How much water is it getting? Too much?

I've recently tried transplanting some small Black Oaks from one property to another. All of the small ones that I watered have died. The ones in dry unwatered dirt are doing fine .... just a thought.
 
Last edited:
  
  • Thread Starter
#5  
OP
Fuddy1952

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
All good thoughts. I guess it's possible too much water, but an oak maybe 100ft away is doing fine (that one I'd hate to lose, my grandfather planted it 40 years ago and it came from Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest). I can fell this one, although it's under a 7200v power line . Maybe THAT'S what killed it!
 
   #6  

4570Man

Super Star Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2015
Messages
16,059
Location
Crossville, TN
Tractor
Kubota M59, Kubota L3800, Grasshopper 428D, Topkick dump truck, 3500 dump truck, 10 ton trailer, more lighter trailers.
I’d wait until next spring or until the bark starts falling off to tell for sure but I’d say it’s dead.
 
   #7  

jaxs

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
2,651
Location
North Tx
Tractor
841 ford,MF65,Cub Lowboy,,Ford 600
IDK about other states but Oak Wilt is killing trees in Texas. Have you ever put down weed-n-feed or applied any kind of herbicide in the vicinity? Wind and water can transport chemicals from one place to others.
 
   #8  

oosik

Super Star Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
17,048
Location
AMBER, WA
Tractor
2009 Kubota M6040
A really sad situation. Your bottom picture looks like what my Ponderosa pines exhibit when attacked by Pine Bark beetle. Loss of bark - lots of "sawdust" - cambium layer turning red/orange. In my case - felling and burning is the only answer.

Have a trusted arborist look and tell you exactly what is happening. Do you need to take it down immediately - will it recover - can it spread to other oaks.
 
   #9  

LD48750

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Messages
1,111
Location
SE, MI
Tractor
Ford 2N Ford 1510
Looks & sounds like the "Oak Wilt" we have here in MI.
Has killed a dozen of my trees in the last few years.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#10  
OP
Fuddy1952

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
IDK about other states but Oak Wilt is killing trees in Texas. Have you ever put down weed-n-feed or applied any kind of herbicide in the vicinity? Wind and water can transport chemicals from one place to others.
No chemicals near it.
 

jjp8182

Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
842
Location
Northern Alabama
Tractor
Kubota L3560
If it's just the leaves turning brown I'd give it a year or two (but still watch look for other signs of disease/decay) ( BTW I'm assuming the concern is with larger tree in the first picture ...if it's the smaller leafless tree nearer the camera, then that one should probably just go - either cut down or moved - as it's probably too close to the larger tree and will likely compete/weaken both trees).

Not sure about your area, but it's not unusual for me to start seeing some of my pin oaks start changing to a brown color in late August around here, but then the next spring they come back healthy and full of leaves. Figure that with as dry as August tends to be and with the changing position of the sun & length of day the tree is just optimizing/self pruning the leaves/branches that aren't worth maintaining at that time.

Had to take one out a couple years ago because it was dying (top was covered in mushrooms as well as moss), but that one was likely dying due to it being overshadowed by two larger oaks to the south of it (as well as lightning striking the flag pole/tree next to it a few year prior) ..... have another I'll probably need to do next year for the same reason of being consistently overshadowed by larger oaks.

Really hard to tell much without seeing the leaves & bark up close (or knowing what type of oak tree it is) .... though it's probably worth getting the opinion of a local arborist/biologist if for no other reason than peace of mind.
 

fishdrivel

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
310
Location
Western Georgia
Tractor
Kubota B2910
Lots of oaks here, some are very old and all doing well with green leaves. In first picture you see the one. I noticed leaves turning brown shriveling up and falling.
It's not that old, I've been here forty years and that's about how old it is.
I assume it's dying but can't figure out why?View attachment 713184View attachment 713185View attachment 713186
Retired arborist here.
1) many different dieases throughout the country. Most are localized.
2) Forgive me but I'm not seeing a dieing tree in these picture, though I do see some deadlimbs. Are you talking about the small tree in front?
3) It is in a "nice" lawn, have you used 2-4-D, commonly found in herbicides? There are many herbicides that are harmful in the drip line.
4) Do not put mulch at the trunk. Causes disease.Can be good away from the trunk. Most hardwood mulch comes from dead trees - removed, chipped and sold. Sometimes this mulch carries disease.
5) Oak trees are very adaptable. They adapt best to natural changes that happen over a period of time. They do not respond well to the rapid changes we make with irrigation, chemicals, burning, trenching, you get the picture.
6) You had forester and Davey tree out there. If they did not say the tree is dead, leave it alone. I can't diagnose from 1000 miles away and I doubt anyone else can either.

I wish I could see it up front and personal. Good luck on your trees.
6) if it dies, get it out of there and burn debris.
4)
 

jjp8182

Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
842
Location
Northern Alabama
Tractor
Kubota L3560
Looks like you've got a variety of white oak with those lobed leaves ...and given those leaves look to be primarily intact/whole and not discolored (with whites, dark browns, or other non-typical leaf transition colors) that'd seem to rule out most common oak tree diseases listed here:


Also means that since it's a species of white oak if it were to acquire oak wilt - (which it doesn't seem is something that easily acquired - from Oak Wilt 101 — MichiganOakWilt.org: "Oak wilt (Bretziella fagacearum) gains admission to oak trees via root grafts or through wounds. In other words, the oak wilt (OW) fungus cannot actively penetrate and infect trees as many other fungal pathogens or pests can. After gaining access to trees via wounds or through root grafts from nearby diseased trees, the OW fungus infects and then inhabits the vascular tissues where it basically colonizes the entire vascular system of the tree. Within weeks after infection, trees in the red oak family usually exhibit symptoms of leaf loss and death, previously discussed." -- emphasis added)

- that it wouldn't be dead in a matter of weeks. Though it also doesn't seem like it matches oak wilt (from the leaves at least), so unless there are open wounds, cracked bark or the pressure pads associated with oak wilt (examples can be seen by searching "oak wilt pressure pads") ..it's probably not that either.

So given it's already September and I'm neither an arborist nor local to your area (so don't know what the weather has been like for the last few months) .... I think I'd still chalk it up to the tree just going through it's normal cycle of dropping leaves for the winter (perhaps a tad earlier than others if the immediate/local conditions put some sort of slow/long stress/competition on it).

Though if it's a significant concern getting a local arborist to look at it may be worthwhile as they'd be far more informed on conditions and diseases in the local area (and able to see any other considerations that could be at play).

Just my $0.02 though....
 

EddieWalker

Epic Contributor
Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
23,527
Location
Tyler, Texas
Tractor
Several, all used and abused.
I don't know if it's dying or just sick. Where I live, the do this sometimes and then the next year, they look fantastic. Other times, it just gets worse and then there are no more leaves and it has to come down. I take a wait and see approach. No reason to rush into anything until you are sure it's dead. Even then, you have a few years to safely take it down before it starts to rot and become dangerous.

I've also noticed that when something happens to a tree, it takes 2 years to see that it's hurt. Usually it's from digging in the ground and damaging the roots. I also think that when I've compacted the roots around an older oak by driving too close to it, too many times, has harmed them.

One of the oddest things that I've noticed about oak trees in the city is that they where planted when the house was built. They where watered their entire lives with the lawn and they have extremely shallow root systems. When we have a lot of rain, and the ground is really saturated, they just fall over. These are massive trees that destroy houses and cars when they fall over. I saw it happen once on a perfectly clear day without any wind. I was talking to the neighbor of a house I was working on. We where on the sidewalk and the oak tree across the street just fell over. It barely made a sound. It landed perfectly in the yard without damaging anything. It's trunk was well over 3 feet thick. Trees that grow up in yards and never deal with drought or dry periods do not grow deep roots. They might also be more easily damaged from mowing, but I've never seen anything to suggest a lawn mower would do this, but a heavy tractor would for sure.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#17  
OP
Fuddy1952

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
Good news is I got a call back from the Virginia forestry department, I left a message yesterday. Within a few days a fellow who works our district will stop by.
While he's here I'll get his advice on other trees as well as I want to plant Christmas trees and variety of others.
I'm a tree-aholic I guess.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#18  
OP
Fuddy1952

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
My power comes from across the road, two wires overhead (7,200 volts power and ground I assume?), over a few hundred feet to a power pole about 100ft. from house with transformer on it, then 240 volt 3 wire down pole then underground around to meter.
I had a nice maple tree not far from this pole that recently died, like within a few weeks it seemed. Not far from that is an oak leaves are falling, much earlier than any oak around.
Since the maple limbs were touching 240v posts as well as around up to 7,200v wire I reported it to power company Tuesday. Guy said "someone will be out 2-3 weeks.
Yesterday early morning doorbell rings and there's a guy from power company (?!).
He said "yes, the one limb needs cutting first, then tree needs down. But it will be about 3 to 5 YEARS before we can do that! However...I do some tree cutting on the side, I can cut one limb (3" diameter) for $100 or drop the whole tree for $200 (20" diameter), but you'd have to cut it up and haul it off".
Thinking about it, seems crazy to me. I could whack that limb in a minute.
My purpose in calling power company is the shock hazard.
Then I said I have a backhoe and could dig up the stump, but I'd have to have underground line marked. "Don't worry about that...the power line is buried 18 inches".!
Then I asked since the limb touched power...isn't that what killed the tree? No he said.
To me it all seems crazy...is it just me?
Thanks...
 

jjp8182

Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
842
Location
Northern Alabama
Tractor
Kubota L3560
Having seen the standard of work from the companies hired by the utilities for tree trimming in this area I'd put them close to being the last ones I'd consider consulting for anything related to trees.

Topping, lop sided trimming, lion tailing -- just about everything I've ever read about what not to do when trimming trees I've seen in "finished" work from the companies used to cut limbs back from power lines...... which given their primary concern is to keep the vegetation off the line isn't much of a surprise.

In my opinion a chainsaw & a bucket truck (or even a ladder) does not make someone an expert on trees any more than having a fork & plate makes someone a good cook.

For what it's worth, when I took out an oak here (which was also ~20 inches in diameter) I had to dig down 24"-30" and about 3' to 4' around the trunk before I could get to roots I could break with a 9,000lb excavator. So yes, getting any areas where you'll need to need to dig marked for utilities is a good idea (along with being aware of what utilities may not be marked). Along those lines there's also no reason to be stingy when requesting the size of the area around the dig site to be marked as long as it's all on your property.
 

5030

Super Star Member
Top Poster Of Month
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
14,803
Location
Somewhere, but not there....
Tractor
M9000 HDCC3 M9000 HDC
Looks & sounds like the "Oak Wilt" we have here in MI.
Has killed a dozen of my trees in the last few years.
I have 2 with oak wilt but they always come back in the spring so I'd wait until next spring and see if they come back. Mine always have. Pines, not so much. Have 3 to take out and one is a bucket truck tree. I have my contractor cut them (trunks to bucket length) and off to the burn pile and he chips the branches and dumps the chips in the side yard and I use them for mulch.
 

5030

Super Star Member
Top Poster Of Month
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
14,803
Location
Somewhere, but not there....
Tractor
M9000 HDCC3 M9000 HDC
Having seen the standard of work from the companies hired by the utilities for tree trimming in this area I'd put them close to being the last ones I'd consider consulting for anything related to trees.
utility companies that hire out trimming could care less about saving anything. They get paid by the hour and butcher everything just so the power lines have an unobstructed path. Last thing on their agenda is preservation of anything.
 

ning

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2017
Messages
1,741
Location
Northern California
Tractor
Branson 3520h
He said "yes, the one limb needs cutting first, then tree needs down. But it will be about 3 to 5 YEARS before we can do that! However...I do some tree cutting on the side, I can cut one limb (3" diameter) for $100 or drop the whole tree for $200 (20" diameter), but you'd have to cut it up and haul it off".

I sense a conflict of interest here and I'd call the power company again and tell them when he told you long before I got this guy to do anything for me.

nb I trust tradespeople who try to talk me out of spending money much more than those who tell me something needs to be done yesterday!
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#24  
OP
Fuddy1952

Fuddy1952

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
4,112
Location
South Central Virginia
Tractor
1973 Economy and 2018 John Deere 3038E
I'm in S.Central Virginia. I just called the power company, asking for a supervisor. He was very understanding and agreed "too many red flags". Tree needs to be dropped safely, Miss Utility marking line, etc.
He said in 2-3 days I'll hear from the coordinator who will arrange tree cutting.
Hopefully I'll be here, I don't want other healthy trees cut back too much.
 
   #25  

fishdrivel

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
310
Location
Western Georgia
Tractor
Kubota B2910
My power comes from across the road, two wires overhead (7,200 volts power and ground I assume?), over a few hundred feet to a power pole about 100ft. from house with transformer on it, then 240 volt 3 wire down pole then underground around to meter.
I had a nice maple tree not far from this pole that recently died, like within a few weeks it seemed. Not far from that is an oak leaves are falling, much earlier than any oak around.
Since the maple limbs were touching 240v posts as well as around up to 7,200v wire I reported it to power company Tuesday. Guy said "someone will be out 2-3 weeks.
Yesterday early morning doorbell rings and there's a guy from power company (?!).
He said "yes, the one limb needs cutting first, then tree needs down. But it will be about 3 to 5 YEARS before we can do that! However...I do some tree cutting on the side, I can cut one limb (3" diameter) for $100 or drop the whole tree for $200 (20" diameter), but you'd have to cut it up and haul it off".
Thinking about it, seems crazy to me. I could whack that limb in a minute.
My purpose in calling power company is the shock hazard.
Then I said I have a backhoe and could dig up the stump, but I'd have to have underground line marked. "Don't worry about that...the power line is buried 18 inches".!
Then I asked since the limb touched power...isn't that what killed the tree? No he said.
To me it all seems crazy...is it just me?
Thanks...
In my time as an arborist I found many trees touching power lines - even 12,000 volt lines. Sometimes that was very exciting!
Do NOT try to dig up tree with backhoe without clearance (10 feet minimum) If the tree contacts the power line in any way, you will get lit up - likely forever. OSHA says that only trained professionals can work adjacent to live circuits. Trained professional would be a licensed electrician licensed at that voltage or an arborist certified for line clearance at that voltage.

Note: Posted this before reading your last post.
 
 
Top