Time for the Chainsaw?

It seems to be a week when I’m finally ready to admit that problems in the garden don’t often go away on their own. The biggest of these problems is the decline of the Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) that grows in the the 150 sq.ft. landlocked patch of parkway between the our road, sidewalk and two driveways.

For the past several years, it’s had a good deal of leaf dieback during the heat of summer. Aside from cleaning up some leaves, this hasn’t been a huge problem and the tree has continued to grow at a healthy pace.

This summer, however, a large discolored patch has developed a few feet up the trunk. My knowledge of plant pathology is quite limited, so I have no idea what could be causing this.

The discolored patch has grown significantly throughout the summer and shows no signs of slowing.

Along its edge, the bark has started to crack as well.

I’ve done some preliminary web searches, but haven’t found any potential suspects. Does anyone know what this problem might be? If the tree is a goner, I’d like to know sooner than later so I can get something else growing in its place.

2 thoughts on “Time for the Chainsaw?”

  1. I don't know what it could be! If you really want to save it, you could consult an arborist. I have a similar problem with an existing pear tree that is in our front yard. It's never really rooted in properly and is tilting slightly. I'm afraid a big storm is going to knock it over….but I'm not ready to deal with the work of removing it and replanting. 🙂


  2. Is the oozing from the tree foul smelling? I suspect it may be bacterial wetwood. http://ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/series600/rpd656/

    The leaves are either affect by environmental or bacterial leaf scorch. We are testing for bacterial leaf scorch at the U of I Plant Clinic if you are interested.

    Unfortunately, if the tree is affected with the above mentioned problems, there is not much you can do. You will need to relieve stress and improve tree vitality.


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