Eau Claire (WQOW)- Before trees are white with snow, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource is asking Wisconsin homeowners to keep an eye out for an infection killing trees all across the state.
Oak wilt is a fungus. Tree experts said it causes the tree to essentially kill itself trying to fight the infection. The most common symptoms are leaves that die and drop early in the season. Sometimes, the leaves will start dying in targeted spots around the tree rather than all over. Another sign is the branch tips dying off due to not getting enough nutrients.
Experts said the fungus is spread through the roots, and it spreads fast. Oak wilt is highly contagious, so when not treated properly, it can lead to the death of all surrounding oak trees. Experts said with Emerald Ash Borer beginning to spread, keeping oaks healthy is important.
"We need to maintain diversification as much as we can. It's very important. So, if you have other species, like oaks or sometimes maples, maples are very populous in our area, too. If we can keep those healthy, because we already know that we are going to be having a major onslaught of another species, keeping oak trees healthy is imperative to keeping our forests healthy," said Matthew Staudenmaier, the supervisor for the Eau Claire Forestry Division.
Experts said the best thing to do if you think you spot oak wilt is to call an arborist and get the tree removed as quickly as possible.