It’s splinters spot out across the ground, it’s sap drips from it’s limbs. This murder scene is dark, and gory. The victim did not go down without a fight, and sure as heck didn’t go down quietly. On it’s way down, it reached out for those around it, crashing though and ripping down some with along with itself. The murder was slow and painful, the victim couldn’t do anything to stop it either. “It lived a long life,” says Officer Long, lead investigator for the murder, “it lived to about maybe 135 to 137 years old according to its rings.”
“Officer Long, who is the suspected murderer?” asked the lead reporter for the Science on Campus science blog.
“Not sure yet, there are a couple suspects however. There’s the termite, known for eating it’s victims from the inside out. And there’s this dangerous decease spreading call Oak Wilt that could also be the culprit.”
“Who would you say is the most probable suspect out of all of those?”
“At this point, we can’t say for sure.”
“Well, thank you for your time.”
The funeral was held two days later, and several of his childhood friends came and gave a speech in memory of their lost friend. Several families also should up to pay their respects: the Pines, the Maples, and the Evergreens. The first family to show up was the Oaks; they’re the relatives of the victim.
Three days later the results came in on the cause of the death of the victim. The murderer was “Oak Wilt,” a fatal fugal infection that spreads throughout its victims system and causes the tree to weaken and die. Oak Wilt has killed many oaks in the past and is spreading rapidly.
While I was sitting in my sit spot, staring are fallen trees, I began to wonder, “Can trees get sick? Can the sickness spread? And to what extent could the damage it causes be?” Well, the answer to the first two is yes! Oak Wilt is one of quite a few infectious diseases that trees can “catch” and then spread. One government pest alert artical even says that oak wilt moves on its own through root systems, and can even spread over land.
And as for the damage that can be caused; it’s not a pretty sight. Oaks make up a large portion of our forests and are a common urban and suburban landscaping tree. Their destruction could cause havoc to not only our yards, but to the many species of animals the trees provide for in the natural forests.
But is there a way to stop it? Sadly, there is no way to help a already infected oak, but we can help to protect the other trees around it, and help to prevent all trees from being infected. “DO NOT prune oak trees during the growing season.” This can help to prevent the potential infecting to catch hold of the trees.
Also, “Sever root grafts between diseased and healthy trees.” These, however, are not absolute solutions to the spread of the decease. In fact, a tree even with in 50 feet from an infected one could already be infected, even without showing the signs of infection.
This murderer is smart, fast, and extremely hard to stop. Without the proper protection, your oaks will die just like our last victim. What can you do? Research what you need to know to help these trees, this decease, and what you can do, and then do so. These trees need your protection from this murderous decease; they’re counting on you. And if you help, we won’t have to focus merely on the memory of the fallen trees.