55 trees to be cut down after deadly fungal disease found at Ann Arbor park

Wilt pattern in oak leaves (Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – City officials are working to save oak trees in Bird Hills Nature Area after discovering a group of Northern red oak infected with Oak Wilt.

The disease is caused by the Bretziella fagacearum fungus, which can be deadly to red and white oaks. It spreads through a tree’s root system and can be easily passed to other trees.

While it is deadly to infected trees, there are treatments to prevent the spread of the fungus, according to the State of Michigan.

The city’s forestry staff and the Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation division are working together to save trees within the park. Their plan includes digging a trench to sever infected roots and cutting down around 55 trees.

This is the first time the tree disease has been found in a natural area within Ann Arbor, city officials said in a notice.

Community members visiting Bird Hills should avoid areas that city staff have marked with flags and signage. They can use the A2 Fix It website or app to submit information about trees they suspect of having Oak Wilt.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.