State environmental officials are asking New Hampshire residents to report sightings of Oak Wilt, a fungus that can dehydrate and kill oak trees. This notice comes after outbreaks of the disease in New York that could possibly spread to other areas in the Northeast.
Kyle Lombard, a Forest Entomologist at the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, says the consequences of an outbreak would be especially high for New Hampshire.
“From an ecosystem standpoint, we have a lot of oak in New Hampshire,” said Lombard. “It might be second only to white pine as the most common, most valuable species. There’s a lot of oak in Southern New Hampshire especially.”
Campgrounds are the most common place one might find infected trees. Poor quality firewood brought in from out-of-state could contribute to the fungus spreading.
Officials are emphasizing these preventative measures because there is no known remedy for infected trees.
“It’s a definite killer of trees,” said Lombard. “Once the tree is infected, there’s nothing to do but cut the tree. There’s no sort of fungicide that cleans up the problem.”
Residents can report instances of spotted oak wilt online.