Oak wilt is an aggressive disease that affects many species of oak (Quercus spp.). It is one of the most serious tree diseases in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots, and home landscapes.
Oak wilt was first identified in 1944. The fungal pathogen that causes the disease, Ceratocystis fagacearum, is thought by most to be native to the eastern United States, but difficulty in isolating and identifying the fungus delayed recognition of the extent of its impact until the 1980's. Some plant pathologists think that oak wilt is an exotic disease, arriving in North America in the early 1900's, but the fungus has never been reported from any country other than the United States. The disease has also become much more apparent in some local areas since the 1980's because of increased tree wounding, due primarily to home construction in oak woods.
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