There are several methods available for managing and/or treating oak wilt. The most effective means of managing the spread of oak wilt is through root graft disruption. This is accomplished with a vibratory plow or trenching machine that physically cuts through potentially grafted (connected) roots.
Chemical injections can also be used to prevent new infections from occurring in red and northern pin oaks and to therapeutically treat trees in the white oak family if detected early enough (generally less than thirty percent [30%] canopy wilt). Chemical treatment is accomplished by injecting propiconazole into the water conducting vessels of a tree, as shown in the picture to the left.
Often, this treatment will be used in conjunction with root graft disruption to provide healthy trees a better chance of survival.
Tree removal is also an important part of any management program. Potential spore producing trees (trees that can produce the fungal spore mats) should be removed and properly disposed of no later than March 1 of the following year to prevent the possibility of overland spread of oak wilt. If the wood is to be used for firewood, it should be:
Cut and split the wood into firewood size pieces;
Cover the entire woodpile(s) with black 4 mil or thicker plastic sheeting;
Tape all seams or breaks in the plastic with duct tape or some other heavy-duty tape;
Bury the edges of the plastic around the woodpile(s) so the wood is 'sealed in'. An airtight seal is crucial to disrupt the oak wilt fungus life cycle.
Keep wood covered in this manner from April 1 until October 1. After October 1, the plastic can be removed as the wood should no longer pose a threat of spreading the oak wilt disease.
Avoid Pruning Oak Trees
One of the easiest and most important steps in preventing new occurrences of oak wilt is simply to avoid pruning oak trees April through July. This is not only when sap is flowing readily but also when the insects that can transfer the disease from one tree to another are most active.