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The New York State DEC is dealing with fungus that kills oak trees

As if the emerald ash borer wasn’t enough for homeowners and gardeners to worry about, there’s another blight that could threaten local trees.

This problem involves a tree fungus called ‘oak wilt.’ It causes disease in oak trees, and theNY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation says it has been found in the Town of Canandaigua.

It’s the third location in New York State where oak wilt has been confirmed, and the second location discovered this year. It’s the only location so far in our region.

Regional Forester for the DEC Mark Gooding says right now, the outbreak is in a relatively small, isolated area, but he says this fungus can move around.

“It does spread easily and it does kill the tree; the red oak family tends to die quickly, the white oak family, they can hang on for 3 to 8 years, but it’s very rare that an oak will survive this fungus.”

Gooding says the only thing that can really be done with an infected tree is to remove it.

He says the DEC will be surveying the area to come up with a plan for eliminating the affected trees. 

Gooding does say the fungus is harder to spot this time of year because the leaves are already coming off the trees, but they will follow up next spring as well. 

Canandaigua was the third location in the state where oak wilt was discovered.  It was found earlier this year on Long Island and was previously found in the Schenectady area.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.