Heat-Loving Fungus Killing Bryan Co. Trees - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Heat-Loving Fungus Killing Bryan Co. Trees

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- A lack of rainfall could hurt the trees where you live, but you may be able to stop the damage from happening.

Bryan County resident James Key says the green canopy that shades his home has been changing colors.

"More and more of them are dying," Key says. "It started out with one tree up there on the north side dying, and there's two in the back, and one out front, and one on the south. They're just dying everywhere. It's devastating."

Key says he started noticing that the trees were going brown in his yard near Colbert this spring. Now, he says he has to have them removed or else he is worried they will fall on his house.

"Nothing can be done for them except cut them down. I've been told they have to be cut down, all the wood burned, and burn the root out in order to stop the disease," Key says.

According to the Bryan County extension office, the lack of rain puts stress on trees, making them more susceptible to a fungus that can affect oak, hickory, and pecan trees.

"Drought stress on these trees is causing some other problems, hypoxylon canker is one of them that is attacking the oak trees right now," says extension agent Robert Bourne.

The fungus has an optimal temperature of 95 degrees. The leaves and tops of branches may be affected, then suddenly the whole tree turns brown. Homeowners are advised to destroy the wood affected by the canker or it could spread to other trees.

"We're about at the point we were last year as far as needing some water, needing some relief from the drought," says Bourne.

Until the rain comes, you may need to give your trees some extra water. "You need to try to keep them healthy as possible, so that means watering them frequently and also applying some type of all purpose fertilizer to those trees will also help," Bourne says.

One suggestion is to water the trees once a week, in the area where they create shade, but do not water right next to the trunk. That can help your trees make it through the August heat.