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Author Topic: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??  (Read 778 times)

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Online TKehl

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Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« on: January 02, 2018, 09:49:50 AM »
Should blades be disinfected when doing TSI work in Oak forests?  If so, how often?  With what?

Spent a few hours each the last couple days pruning lower branches of Oaks with a pole saw.  I waited until winter to prune as Iím aware that the spread increases during Oak trees growth period (March-July-ish) and wanted to avoid disease vector (bugs).

I felt pretty smart until I realized that the real threat is spreading the fungus tree to tree.  Now Iím concerned that I my saw blade could become the new vector to spread the fungus, and it is quite a few trees.  I was covering half an acre to an acre an hour.

None of the trees showed signs of wilt, but they are mostly white oaks (White and Willow Oak) with a few Blackjacks.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 06:37:44 AM »
White oak is more resistant to oak wilt than the reds. I wasn't aware that oak wilt was in MO. It has done a number on the live and red oaks in central Texas. I have yet to see much that stops it's spread although conventional wisdom does say to trim in the winter months. I have heard that disinfecting with bleach helps but as I said, I haven't seen anything that really stops it's spread once it starts. Just did some checking and it appears to be quite widespread in both MO and AR. I haven't seen it like it was in Texas. It was horrible there.
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, JD 3032 tractor, JD 5410 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Online TKehl

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 09:07:56 AM »
It's present according to what I've found, but not endemic by any means.  I have a couple trees in the front yard I suspect have it due to me pruning them in June when we moved our mobile home in.   :( >:(  (Before I knew better.   ::))

I know there isn't a cure.  I just don't want to accidentally spread it around by pruning a bunch of limbs on a bunch of trees. 

I'm trying to bring the grade up.  But similar to farming, a dead critter with the best genetics still don't bring nothing.   ;) 

I've got another 100+ acres of half decent timber to cover.  I think I'll buy some more blades for the pole saw and swap them out every 15-30 minutes just in case.  Then I can sterilize the pile of blades at home.  Thinking either bleach or thermal sterilization should do.  Maybe both because I like overkill.   ;D
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 05:27:10 PM »

Offline JimTwoSticks

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 04:42:36 PM »
The risk of transmitting oak wilt from tree-to-tree this time of year is about as close to zero as you can get. Especially if you're not cutting trees that died from oak wilt or (in the case of white oaks) really symptomatic. Even then, you're pretty safe.

The fungus that causes oak wilt is a vascular wilt pathogen and moves in the vascular system of the tree, it spreads around through grafted root systems between trees next to each other and by sap beetles picking up spores from spore mats and moving them to wounds that are bleeding sap (this is the key). This time of year the sap isn't moving so even if you had a saw that had cut through the wood of a branch of a tree that had oak wilt it is not likely to cause disease on the next tree. The risk would increase, although not to the point of making it a sure thing, in the spring/summer.

You are in an oak wilt county, so it's good for you to be thinking about taking precautions and following the pruning/wounding guidelines.

If it were my property I wouldn't worry about it in January...especially if I had 100 acres to prune.

Good luck!  :)

Offline TreeStandHunter

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 09:40:45 AM »
There have been studies on this and they have not been able to succesfully transfer the fungus using pruning tools, etc.. in a lab environment.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 09:59:15 AM »
Maybe not in a lab environment, but I've seen it walk right down the line where clearing had been done by the power company. Could have been from bugs spreading I suppose. The trimmed trees all got it and the the adjacent trees were next.
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, JD 3032 tractor, JD 5410 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline JimTwoSticks

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 10:43:25 AM »
Lee, yes, almost certainly from insect movement.
About the only way you could transmit this thing with pruning tools is by rubbing your saw on a spore mat and then cutting. Again, this is the wrong time of year for this disease to be moved around.

Online TKehl

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 09:53:23 AM »
I appreciate the input guys.

Personally, this has shifted away from biology and over to psychology and economics. 

In other words, despite any evidence, spending $100 for extra blades to maybe potentially protect many thousands of $ of timber, will help me sleep better at night.    8)
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline JimTwoSticks

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Re: Oak Wilt and disinfecting pruning blades during TSI ??
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 11:51:01 AM »
We're humans....sometimes we do stuff like that.  :)
I was on a golf course checking a few trees for the course superintendent a few years ago when he said something like "spray it white, sleep at night" in reference to spraying fungicide to prevent turf diseases.


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