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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 614 days

Prune trees in winter to help prevent oak wilt

Published by Central Office December 13, 2016

Contact(s): Don Kissinger: 715.359-5793 or Paul Cigan 715.416-4920

MADISON - Now is a good time for tree pruning, when temperatures are cold, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tree health experts.

Oak wilt prevention
An oak dying from and an oak killed by oak wilt.
An oak dying from and an oak killed by oak wilt.
Photo Credit: DNR

"Pruning is a good practice to help create or maintain good branch structure and minimize many tree pest and disease problems. However, if you are going to prune oak trees, it is important to do it in winter to prevent introduction of oak wilt," said Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist for northwest Wisconsin. This is because:

To help reduce the spread of oak wilt another way, do not move firewood. "Many oak wilt infections in new areas are likely the result of infected firewood or other raw oak wood being moved from areas with oak wilt," according to Cigan.

Oak wilt is commonly found in the southern two-thirds of the state. It is creeping north, but is still uncommon in much of northern Wisconsin. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of oak wilt will help keep it that way. "This is a current problem for which we can still make a difference," according to Cigan.

More information is available on pruning, oak wilt and firewood

Trees should be pruned throughout their life to maintain strong structure and remove dead wood. "Pruning should not remove more than 25 percent of the live crown of a tree. The lower third of trunks of deciduous trees should be free of limbs," said DNR Urban Forester Don Kissinger.

Find the DNR pruning brochure at, search "tree pruning" [PDF]. Certified arborists who offer pruning and other tree care services can be found at (exit DNR). For more information search the DNR website, for keywords oak wilt and firewood.

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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