Oak wilt spreading; found in Brooklyn and Suffolk County
The state announced Thu., Dec. 29, oak wilt has been detected in Brooklyn and in parts of Suffolk County. This confirmation marks the fourth county where oak wilt has been confirmed in New York. It was previously found in Scotia, Schenectady County. According to a joint press release from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets, oak wilt kills thousands of oaks each year in the eastern United States. It is caused by a fungus. The fungus grows in the water conducting vessels of oak trees, blocking the vessels and preventing water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and the tree dies rapidly. There is no known treatment to kill the fungus. The DEC is in the process of establishing protective zones around Suffolk County and Brooklyn. Once emergency orders are in place, the removal of any part of a living, dead, standing, cut or fallen oak tree will be prohibited. "It is important that these emergency orders are taken seriously," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Moving contaminated wood without taking precautions will spread this serious tree-killing disease to additional areas." The public is asked to be on the lookout next summer for oak trees that suddenly lose leaves in July and August, and to report these occurrences to the Forest Health Information Line at 1 866 640 0652. Read the full press release online at NYS News.