Acute oak decline is a tree disease, which has impacted Europe severely several times in over 2 centuries. Currently, there is a version of this disease being observed in the UK, which has been monitored and examined for 20 years. The targets of this disease are trees over 50 years old, meaning that veteran oaks are at particular risk.
The symptoms of acute oak decline include some of the following:
- Crown thinning – sometimes it is a sudden occurrence, in other cases, it is gradual over 2 years.
- Stem bleeding – the tree develops dark weeping patches. They may be less serious than they look, and can sometimes even heal if the tree recovers from that stressed state.
- Tree stress – in such a state, a tree becomes more vulnerable to pests and diseases, which may appear on the tree.
- Dark fluids – the dark fluids may seep through cracks in the bark, and run down the tree trunk.
Several factors mostly determine the specifics of acute oak decline. The most important thing to remember is that the disease stresses out the trees. Things like waterlogging, pollution and sometimes drought are the environmental factors contributing to stressing the tree. Bacteria, fungi and insects can then further push an oak into decline.
It bears mention that oak decline occurs in stressed trees. There are certain processes taking place then, such as the tree being unable to supply enough water, its crown becoming thin and it loses a certain amount of leaves. In response to drought, a tree will develop dark patches on the bark. The stress factors combine and then lead to low amounts of energy within the tree to compensate for the issue at hand. In this condition, it may be ill-prepared for cold months and not be able to manage a pest infestation as effectively. For trees pushed into decline like that, death may take place in the following years.
Impact of acute oak decline
Oak decline has been monitored for over 250 years. Germany has had an issue with this disease since the 1990s. In the UK, the oak decline has mostly struck in Wales and the southern shores of England. As it is an atypical disease, the spread of it is much lower. The same cannot be said for its environmental impact, however, especially in regards to the environmental conditions become more unpredictable. As a result, other tree species experience the same decline.
The impact acute oak decline poses will increase, because environmental changes are ongoing still. Such a disease on trees will become more frequently surveyed, due to climate changes. Worse yet is the fact that the disease can cause the oak decline condition to be more severe.
Here is what can be done about the acute oak decline
Combating acute oak decline is not easy. One step in the right direction is to ensure more oaken trees are planted. More importantly, is planting them in an area that fosters their natural regenerative qualities. It is also important to do more research on the disease. Knowing what causes it and how it can be prevented and slow it down is very important.
Good tree surveying is of utmost importance when it comes to acute oak decline. Having experts explore the trees in a given area and take notes of their condition can make all the difference in the world. Changing matters isn’t always possible, but it is essential to assess the situation early on.