Bur Oak Blight taking a toll on common Iowa tree

DES MOINES, Iowa- There's trouble for one of Iowa's most common trees, the Bur Oak. Tree experts say they're hearing reports of a fungus that causes Bur Oak Blight.

Tivone Feeley of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says leaves may turn brown early, starting with the lower branches then spreading to the upper crown of the tree. He says the leaves will hang-on through the winter and then the fungus will spread to new leaves in the spring.

He says the disease has been seen mostly in bur oak trees, but symptoms have also been found on swamp white oaks.

He says the fungus puts stress on the tree, and insects usually kill the tree.

The DNR says if you suspect a tree is suffering from Bur Oak Blight, get the problem correctly diagnosed before any management decisions are made. You can send samples to the Iowa State University Plant Diagnostic Clinic for testing.