By Mary Lynne Gibbs • 2018 Director

As REALTORS, you know that trees add value to property. A majestic oak may be worth thousands! With the constant threat of oak wilt, one of the most destructive tree diseases that can kill oaks at epidemic proportions, we need to make our homeowners aware of the dangers. 

Research and industry knowledge add value to our clients and improves our competency, but we certainly do not want to offer information outside our expertise. I recommend you seek the advice of a qualified arborist like Greg Gundersen of Certified Tree Care who recently shared with me some helpful advice: 

What recommendations do you have for agents who refer landscape and tree care services to clients?  

Greg: The most important thing is to make sure whoever is being referred is a professional in their field. If looking for tree care, make sure they are using an ISA certified arborist. 

What do we need to know about tree care and oak wilt? 

Greg: If the trees have a lot of broken or dead limbs, make sure to have them painted to ensure their health. Oak wilt beetles are active between 60-90 degrees so no matter what time of year, pruning is important and all equipment should be sterilized. 

What preventive measures can be taken? If discovered, what can be done to help save the trees?

Greg: Prevention is always less expensive than being reactive. Keeping the trees properly maintained and all wounds painted is crucial. There are ways to protect the live oaks if oak wilt is a threat. After trees are manicured, we recommend injecting the trunk base with a fungicide, which acts as a protective barrier for up to two years. It also helps open the vascular system of the tree to allow water and nutrients to flow more freely to the crown. Make sure you have an ISA certified arborist up-to-date on the most effective and efficient ways to treat the issue.

So my advice this September is to take care of your trees, educate your clients and have a happy fall! And since fall is one of the best times to establish trees, you might tell your clients to consider planting some trees. One day they may add thousands to the value of their home!  RL