Glen Oaks residents will receive a letter this week after Glenville Parks and Recreation Director James McFarland confirmed on Monday, March 23, that the trees affected by oak wilt disease will be removed.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has spent the past several months studying the area and has determined that trenching would be too costly and disruptive and has instead opted to cut and chip the sick trees and those surrounding them.
The DEC put a lot of time and thought into how to best deal with this rare situation. We want homeowners to know that the oak wilt has been contained and removal will prevent the risk of transmittal, said McFarland.
The letter to residents said the cost of installing the trenches and the risk of damage to property was too high, and to adequately prevent the spread of the disease, the DEC will have to cut and chip all red oaks within 150 feet of the seven infested trees. McFarland said that the risk of white oaks transmitting oak wilt is virtually nonexistent and therefore, the DEC will not cut any of those trees.
The DEC will hire a contractor to remove seven trees in the Glen Oaks development, which first showed signs of this tree fungus late last fall. The fungus is more commonly found in the mid-western part of the country, and it is still unknown how it showed up in Glenville.
McFarland said the DEC and the town agree that their efforts will be better spent alleviating the problem as opposed to determining the cause due to its rarity.
`It is unlikely that we will ever know how it ended up here, but this is a good reminder that we need to reinforce why it’s not always safe for trees to be transplanted,` said McFarland.
Rick Georgeson, public affairs representative of the Department of Environmental Conservation, said that the removal of the seven infected trees will begin later this month. He also said that the DEC will most likely continue to remove trees within a 5-acre perimeter through the end of June.
Georgesen said that trenching was ruled out because of too many underground utility obstacles.
`The DEC’s priority is to contain and remove the diseased trees and then move on to those surrounding,` said Georgesen.
Georgesen said that the fungal disease can be aggressive because it clogs the tree’s ability to take in water and nutrients. He also said that officials were not able to identify it immediately and needed to send it out for testing.
McFarland said the tree removal will come at no cost to the town and is being funded by the DEC at a cost of about $30,000.
Georgesen said that although they do not know how the oak wilt was transported to Glenville, a new regulation was enacted March 18 to protect forests from destructive diseases by not allowing imported firewood into New York unless it has been treated to eliminate pests. The regulation also prohibits the movement of untreated firewood within New York more than 50 miles from its source. For information, go to the DEC’s Web site at www. dec.ny.gov. “