Fungal disease threatens Michigan oaks

Apr 11, 2016

Red oak trees turn a beautiful, fiery shade every autumn. But sadly, some of those trees die in the middle of summer because of an invasive species. We talk with a forester and an invasive species expert about this problem.

Despite our recent snow and chilly temperatures, many trees are finally starting to bud in mid-Michigan. One particular species, the northern red oak, is worth waiting all summer to see its leaves turn to a fiery shade in the fall. But this year, many red oaks in Michigan might not make it that long.

Oak wilt disease is a fungal infection that turns leaves brown and kills off trees in midsummer. It’s always fatal to the tree. Oak wilt disease has been found this spring across much of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Current State talks about the effects of oak wilt disease with Ray Gurley,a forestry expert with Consumers Energy’s hydroelectric program, and Dr. Deb McCullough, professor of entomology at Michigan State University.