Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What common problems do oaks have in this area?

There are many problems that can affect oak trees. One of these problems is attack by an insect known as the two-line chestnut borer. Borer symptoms usually appear in the crown of the tree, or in one of the main side branches. Leaves wilt and suddenly turn uniformly brown. At this point, it is important not to confuse borer damage with oak wilt disease.

To tell if borers are responsible, remove the bark from a dying portion of the tree and look for larvae. They appear as white, segmented worms. You should also be able to see the galleries or tunnels left in the wood by the borers. Borer symptoms are more prevalent in late summer, while oak wilt is more common in early summer. However, it is possible for both problems to occur at the same time. Two-line chestnut borers are partial to storm damaged, diseased and weakened trees. They are also found in log piles in residential neighborhoods. Trees with root damage from compacted soil in construction sites are even more vulnerable.

To guard against borer damage, these measures should be taken. Remove infected wood, three inches or more in diameter from infected trees before May 15th each spring. Securely cover wood piles from infected trees from May 15 to July 15, if you do not use or destroy the wood before that time because Beetles may escape stacked wood and reinfect healthy trees. Fertilize and water ornamental oaks well during spring and do not treat with chemicals for most situations.