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DNR recommends pruning oak trees in winter to prevent oak wilt

An Oak tree with large branches enshrining its surrounding.
An oak tree with large branches.

As temperatures drop, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says now is the best time to prune oak trees to help prevent oak wilt.

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that blocks the flow of water and nutrients from the roots of the tree to the top.

It can cause leaves to slowly wilt and fall off and eventually kill the tree.

Simeon Wright, a forest health specialist with the state DNR, says beetles that are most active in the spring and summer usually spread the disease.

“So basically, in Michigan, there's a high-risk period that research has identified from about April 15 to July 15 when oak trees are most likely to become infected when they're pruned," he said.

Wright says the risk of infection significantly lowers in the late fall and into the winter.

“So it's a completely safe time to prune oak trees," he added.

Wright says oak trees should be pruned every year but no more than 25% of the crown of the tree should be removed.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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