Thread: Caring for Northern Red Oaks

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  1. #1
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Minnesota-zone 3
    Posts
    300

    Caring for Northern Red Oaks

    My family owns a cabin in northern Minnesota on a lake. We own about 10 acres of land and a lot of it is covered with beautiful red oak trees.

    These oaks are generally growing in wooded areas that we have left to grow wild, but we have a few concerns. The trees have many dead branches, especially lower down. Other than being an eyesore, could these dead branches be stressing the tree at all?

    Red Oaks are one of my favorite trees and I have been working hard to keep them healthy. One tree in particular was being choked out by 5 or 6 popple (quaking aspen) that had shot up literally a few inches from the oak and had wrapped around it and through its branches. I cannot take the popple roots out without disturbing the oak, but I'm afraid with popples being able to clone themselves, that the roots will continue to strangle the tree. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    562

    RE: Caring for Northern Red Oaks

    I'm not sure about the dead branches--some trees lose those lower branches as they grow taller. But on the other trees that threaten your oaks, I'd cut them off and spray the cut end with Roundup or the generic version of it. That will kill the roots below the surface. Be very careful and soak the cut end only so that you don't overspray--although, if your oak trees are big enough, it is unlikely that a little overspray on the bark or exposed roots will hurt them. Still, always be careful with herbicides.

  3. #3
    Oak
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    562

    RE: Caring for Northern Red Oaks

    While I'm not sure what is causing your red oak branches to die--it could be some sort of canker disease?--I would definitely prune them during the next dormant season, if at all possible. It is best for the tree.

  4. #4
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Minnesota-zone 3
    Posts
    300

    RE: Caring for Northern Red Oaks

    I think the branches have simply died because of being choked out by other trees. One oak in particular, which is a mature shade red oak in the yard has several dead branches on one side of the tree where a balsam fir had been growing for a very long time.

    The balsam fir died a few years ago (old age/too much water) and we cut it down, and now the dead branches are really obvious.

    But I will probably go out there in October once the leaves are gone and do this stuff.

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