Oak Wilt Death
Oak Wilt Trenching

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Severe diseases like oak wilt require prompt intervention to protect trees and prevent the spread. Though there are some treatments available for oak wilt, trees that are infected will eventually die. The key is to prevent the disease from getting to the tree and infecting it, which can be difficult to do.

When oak wilt appears nearby, one of the best ways to help stop the spread and prevent it from reaching other oak trees in the area is through trenching. Trenching that is done correctly will keep the roots of trees separate, so the disease can’t spread underground from one tree to another.

What is Trenching, and How Does it Help?

One of the ways oak wilt spreads is through tree roots. Oak tree roots from different trees can connect together underground, called grafting. While this is beneficial for the trees, it makes it easier for diseases like oak wilt to spread, and it can lead to the death of many oak trees in the area. The disease spreads through the graft from one tree to another, infecting all of the trees in the area that are connected. Though that’s not the only way for oak wilt to spread, it is a common method.

Trenching is a method of digging a deep trench around infected trees to cut the roots off from nearby oak trees. The graft is severed completely as long as the trench is deep enough. The goal is to create a space where the roots don’t connect so the disease doesn’t spread to the next tree. This does need to be done as soon as oak wilt disease is discovered for the biggest impact and will need to be done by a professional to make sure it’s done right.

Benefits of Trenching for Tree Protection

Trenching is a relatively simple concept that does have a big impact on the spread of oak wilt disease. It’s simply the process of digging a large trench around the tree to stop the oak wilt from spreading through the roots. When trenching is done, the trench typically goes down into the ground around four to five feet, which is enough to sever most grafts between the trees.

If all of the grafts are severed, the disease will not be able to spread, protecting the other trees in the area. Since oak wilt disease will eventually kill the infected tree, stopping the spread helps protect the other trees so they can continue to thrive. With proper trenching done, more oak trees can be saved and allowed to continue growing.

Specialty Trenching Solutions

Trenching is usually done to a depth of four to five feet, but often this is the limit due to the machinery used. While this is sufficient to cut most root grafts, trenching may not always be successful due to remaining grafts further underground. The majority of grafts are within four feet of the surface, but if there are any that are further down, oak wilt disease can still spread through them.

The answer to this is specialized machinery. We have a one-of-a-kind rock saw trenching machine that minimizes the potential for any further spread of oak wilt between the trees. Our machinery cuts deeper than standard trenching machines with a depth of 54″, so we can make sure all root grafts are severed. Our specialized trenching machine also cuts a 6″ wide trench versus our competitors at 4″. We cut deeper and wider.  This helps protect more trees and ensures the trenching is successful.

Another fact that separates us from our competitors is our machinery also refills the trench once the roots have been severed (in real-time). There’s no need to go behind the machine and manually refill the trench, reducing the number of people needed to do the job and the amount of time it takes to get it done. This helps to reduce the cost of trenching, as it can be done faster and with fewer workers.

Bottom line.  Oak wilt is an infectious disease impacting oak trees throughout the area. Once it infects a tree, there may not be a lot that can be done to save the tree because of the severity of the disease. Instead, prompt attention and fast work are needed to protect the surrounding trees from becoming infected. One of the ways to do this is through trenching and severing the grafts underground between the trees.

If any trees nearby have been diagnosed with oak wilt disease, now is the time to act. With our specialized machinery, we can dig a deeper trench, increasing the protection and reducing the potential for oak wilt disease to spread in your area. This way, your gorgeous trees will be better protected and able to be enjoyed for many years to come.