Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt Making its Way to Grimsby

Oak Wilt is a serious fungal disease moving across Eastern North America that is fatal to oak trees. Red Oaks are particularly susceptible, resulting in a tree dying within a single season. Grimsby has a significant number of Red Oak trees in its tree canopy.

Oak Wilt is most commonly spread by sap beetles transmitting fungal spores from infected trees to wounds on oak trees that have been trimmed or injured resulting in sap being exposed to the air.  These beetles fly between April and November and are attracted to the sap of oaks. By not trimming oak trees between March and November we greatly reduce the chance of the beetles transmitting the fungal spores to healthy trees.

Where is it now?

Oak Wilt has been found in Ontario in:

  • Niagara Falls
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Springwater Twp. Simcoe County

What can you do?

Grimsby Green Advisory Committee Action

The following motion was approved by council through the Grimsby Green Advisory Committee:

“Whereas the Green Committee has indicated that enhancing and maintaining Grimsby’s Tree Canopy is of paramount importance; and Whereas Oak Wilt disease has been found to date in three locations in Ontario, including Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls; and Whereas species in the Red Oak Family has shown the greatest susceptibility to the fungal disease known as Oak Wilt Disease. It can effect all oak species and apples and chestnuts. Oak Wilt could be devastating to Grimsby as Red Oak is a common tree species in the urban and natural forests of Grimsby. Oak Wilt can kill fully mature Red Oak Trees in a matter of months if not weeks; and Whereas the Town of Grimsby and other municipalities and property owners in Ontario have seen the destruction and associated costs caused by the Emerald Ash Borer to ash trees. The property owners had few if any options in preventing or delaying the disease in ash trees. With Oak Wilt, property owners have a first step available to them to prevent Oak Wilt; and Whereas the infection of Oak Wilt primarily involves the fungal spores of Bretziella fagacearum being introduced to oak trees by sap beetles, Nitidulidae family, that are attracted to wounds on the tree where sap is exposed to the air. The sap beetles normally fly between the months of March and November; and Whereas the best known practice to prevent Oak Wilt spread is to not cause wounds to oak trees. This involves not pruning or causing any injury to oak species from March until November; and Whereas in addition to pruning trees the most common injury to oaks is caused by improper use of lawn mowers and weed whips which can rip the bark.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Town of Grimsby immediately inform staff not to trim oak trees from March to November and that predetermined staff from Community Services and Public Works take training on preventing Oak Wilt as soon as possible in conjunction with Invasive Species Center

Invasive Species Centre Link

Be it further resolved that the Town of Grimsby train staff involved with grass cutting and grounds maintenance to identify oak trees and stay clear of them with power mowers and power weed whips.

Be it further resolved that the Town of Grimsby inform Grimsby Power and other utility companies that may be involved with tree trimming not to trim oaks between March and November unless in case of a clear emergency.

Be it further resolved that the Town of Grimsby inform all tree contractors, arborists, and landscapers working in Grimsby of its policies in regards to avoiding the trimming and removal of oaks and to develop a By-law preventing the trimming of oaks in Grimsby from March to November of each year unless in case of emergency and with permits.

Be it further resolved that the Town of Grimsby inform the Niagara Region and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority of its actions and request the two organizations to adopt similar policies.

Be it further resolved that the Town of Grimsby develop a communication programme to inform the citizens of Grimsby of suitable actions to help reduce the introduction and spread Oak Wilt in all parts of Grimsby. The communication programme is to also advise residents of the need to inform Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency of any suspected trees with possible Oak Wilt. Be it further resolved that this motion be brought to Council in the Council Endorsement Package for approval.”

Contact Us