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We (and many of you) are beginning to receive questions about white oaks or bur oaks with these characteristic symptoms of oak tatters.
Upon initial inspection the leaves look as if they have been shredded or severely fed upon by insects. However, damage occurred to leaf tissue in the buds or at the time of leaf expansion. According to a recent publication by the USDA Forest Service, the cause of this malady is unproven, but may include one or more of the following factors:
Management of this disease currently focuses on minimizing stress to affected trees. Avoid site changes such as adding fill, severing roots, or compaction. Mulch, water during extended dry conditions, and fertilize as appropriate to help maintain tree vigor. For more information on watering and fertilizing woody plants refer to the following:
Educator Update 4/17/2000
Fertilizing Woody Plants, HO-140
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Last updated: 5 June 2000/tlm.