I'm actually in Minnesota. Far northern suburb of Minneapolis. We've lived here for 25 years. Oak wilt was first recognized in our area about 20 years ago, so I guess I should be grateful that it took that long to reach us. We have had vibratory plowing done 3 times to keep it at bay. Wish our neighbor had too.
It is a fungal disease, usually spread through the roots of the trees, which is why vibratory plowing (kind of like trenching) to sever the grafting of the roots from one tree to another is pretty effective. But it can also be spread by a beetle from an infected tree to a healthy, wounded tree. So a limb breaks in a storm, and you have an open wound on a healthy tree that might not be visible from the ground on a fully leafed out oak, an infected tree somewhere in the vicinity (ie a neighbor's yard), and there is a chance of infection that way.I am about 3 hours south of you on the other side of the river. We've lost hundreds of ash trees here. They were so lovely. Right now the city looks so bare.
I'm sorry about the trees. Is it contagious?
A company I used to work for had to clear some oaks from land they purchased to build their new offices on. They had the wood milled and a custom table made from the wood for the executive conference room. It was stunning, and a nice use of the wood that would otherwise probably have gone to waste.Or have it milled for lumber that you can use later. It is beautiful wood, shame to waste it.
Colorado was one of the areas I have pictures. Forests were dead from Utah to Sturgis, South Dakota and home again. Very sasdBrian, I feel for you. I hate taking down trees. We have lost of lot from beetle kill. All of our ponderosa pines have been culled - maybe 30 or so in my yard alone. With warmer winters up here and drought a few years back, the beetles run rampant and the trees cannot fight them off. We have a pretty good mix of pines since this area has never been logged. Keeping a variety of species really helps slow the blasted bugs down. Still, there is so much timber cut, bagged, and drying out in the yard; I'll never need to buy firewood.
It's heartbreaking to drive around and see entire mountainsides dead or dying. In older hit areas, aspens are just now starting to reclaim the fallen stands which is encouraging. Life moves on. Eventually.