Experts Warn About Fungus Killing Oak Trees

A certain type of fungus is killing oak trees across Green Country-- and costing some homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars for tree removal.It's called Hypoxylon Canker Fungus. It targets stressed trees."Nature has made this fungus to take down dead, weakened, stressed trees so the others will go ahead, take off, and live," said OSU Extension educator Brian Jervis.The fungus grows on the side of oak trees, in particular. It grows a black, silver, or brown mat in linear stripes. Jervis explained that it decays trees from the inside.The fungus is fairly common. However, Jervis said Oklahoma's recent dry, hot summers have stressed trees more than usual. The fungus often grows in wooded areas, as well, where trees are crowded. Crowding can result in less nutrients for the trees.OSU Extension reports people may prevent the fungus with fertilizer and watering.It may take the fungus years to kill a tree. However, there is no real cure.Jervis said tree removal can cost 500 to thousands of dollars. Tulsa resident Brian Stamile's family is dealing with the fungus and dying trees."We have to get these taken down, but you know, coming up with 5,000 to 7,500 dollars for several trees is not exactly feasible just at any given moment," Stamile said.