1. Can’t make it to the GIE+EXPO 2017?
    LawnSite brings the trade show floor to your fingertips with our new GIE+EXPO 2017 Sneak Peek video series debuting now in the Lawn Mowing forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Trencher for Oak Wilt Suppression

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by YellowDogSVC, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    That sucks bad. The watching and waiting is tough. We've been watching the oak wilt progress for years. Most people either don't understand it, don't do anything about it, or (contractors) facilitate spreading it. Though it may not be surprising, there are a lot of tree guys I talk to that have no clue about the what and how of oak wilt or other forest diseases. I keep running into the guys who will do anything for a buck and that attitude is not serving the customer (or the forest whether it be urban or rural).
    It is frustrating and if I could rewire myself, I could make a killing just selling property rape.
  2. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    Your temps and latitude are similar to mine. With the abundance of moisture, I imagine if it gets going, it will be hard to stop. Your roots probably go a lot deeper than ours.

    Those of us who have seen forests depleted because of bugs, disease, or fire know how devastating it can be. What I don't understand is why there isn't more urgency on the legislative side of things to free up research and containment monies. Our country gives away everything else, why not save the trees. :dizzy:
  3. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,245

    Hope that works. Do you do something more after you trench it?

    We lost a lot of oaks up here to the wilt.
  4. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    I've seen where the wilt is moving in WI and MN. It is spreading more. I don't do anything now except watch for trench failure and I will put in a secondary trench as soon as mine is repaired.

    Bobcat was quick. Not more than 2 hours after they picked it up yesterday, the service manager called to tell me he found a problem and was working with Bobcat to get a new boom and get it set back up. I am thinking, though, of going back down to 4' to offset some of the play that the 5' extension has.

    If I had the time, labor, and money, I could install trench barriers. We have a few miles of fenceline, though, and it would be cost and time prohibitive to go through all of that. Other than Cedar Elm trees that grow to 50-60', we don't have any other real big trees here unless you come across some second generation cedars in the 30-40' range. Losing big, mature and full 30' live oaks can really wreck your views.

    I've been lucky for the nearly 20 years I've been at this place. It's always been around us and new centers can start from bugs but we try to paint any wounds from clearing, sawing, or grading roads. I can't get to every wound from wind or ice storms but I try. I guess what I'm getting at is prevention seems to be the cheapest way to deal with it and that's why we tried the trench. I don't think I got everything the first try so that second trench will help a lot. Now the waiting begins and the watching.
  5. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    I've decided to take the trencher down to a 4' dig depth. I'm also going to run all bullet teeth without cups and see how it does. I struggled with the decision to keep it at 5' dig depth but I think that extra foot of play is going to cause problems and it is a lot longer than I thought it would be for hauling purposes. Believe it or not, at 4' dig depth, the trencher is nearly 8' long and will still weigh about 2k lbs. That's lot of weight on any skid.

    I'm looking forward to getting it back. Been on the fence a lot about whether I should have just cleared more brush and used the mini ex to trench but we needed some depreciation, I had a need, and I think it will compliment the excavator. If it doesn't work for what I need it for, I think I might sell it and put the money towards a harley rake or small dump truck. Now I just need a good helper. I'm running out of butts to put in the machines.

    I'll update when I get to test it again.
  6. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    I thought I would update this thread. It's been about 8 months and I decided to take a hike and check on my trenches and trees. Unfortunately I found a clump of dead oaks outside of my trenches. Upon initial inspection I could not find a cause or anything obvious. It was just a clump of dead oaks about 10' to the inside of my trench. We've lost a lot of oaks to drought and they will often die 2-3 in a small clump especially when they are overcrowded like these were.

    I went back out there this afternoon, and found another dead tree on the outside of the trench and it had the tell-tale signs of oak wilt.. veinal necrosis and defoliated.

    I'm not going to panic yet but it doesn't look good and I'm not looking forward to days of heavy duty trenching in a secondary trench. i had hoped that would be several years down the road, if at all.

    If you have not had oak wilt or other tree diseases affect your life and property, it's hard to describe the heartbreak or the daunting task of mitigation, clean up, and trying to suppress in between other chores and trying to make a living and raise a family. Not only is it physically demanding, it's a lot of second-guessing, machine wear and tear, and it's literally a great big mess while you are fighting and it can go on for years as this disease continues to march along.

    Here's a picture of veinal necrosis. No oak wilt diagnosis is 100% certain without a culture but it's one of the few reliable indicators in the field and something that I've seen too often devastate other properties.

    2014-06-03 oak wilt down back.jpg
  7. JNB Construction

    JNB Construction LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Thanks for updating and more education on the subject. I'm still watching this thread with great interest.
  8. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    I have to dig into this more..literally and figuratively. The area is thick and thank God I chose to leave a lot of cedar, persimmon, etc. My neighbor's like their privacy and vice-versa so losing 30' - 40' 20" diameter oaks will be difficult to live with and I don't want to clear everything around them to get them out of there. Just getting them off the fence line is a daunting task..so I'd opt to collapse them in the woods and trench further out and hope it works.
    One of the hardest things is having patience and not making a bad thing worse. Watch and wait.. hope and PRAY for the best and try and not panic. I've watched our neighbors lose almost every oak tree but they waited and/or opted not to do anything.
    I'm going to at least try but I'll admit it's discouraging especially when I'm still cleaning up dead trees from the drought and trying to do maintenance on the rest of the ranch.
  9. anthonyp

    anthonyp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I certainly feel your pain…..We have a `pine beetle` here is s c and it is painful to see the really old pines slowly getting picked off….I can`t imagine if we were to loose the live oaks….At least the pine beetles are selective, and do not just kill everything…Something to grateful for…

    I hope you take courage, and `never give up`, and further keep us up-dated….Is there no sort of fungicide or poison you could put in your newly dug ditches? Thanks Tony
  10. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    Pine beetles, Emerald Ash borer, etc., all suck! :(

    This will be on-going.. have been watching it progress for years.. always fearful. I clean my equipment on customer's properties after dealing with wilt, take precautions here, hike my several miles of fence lines, and educate myself as well as pray on it. I started this ranch when I was in my 20's.. It hadn't been cleared. I am grateful I resisted the urge to clear cut all the underbrush and cedar nearly 20 years ago like all my neighbors. If we can't get a handle on things, I will at least have some other types of trees. We are also blessed, in some areas, to have a variety of mature trees. I worry about the area near my home, though, it's about 2000' from the nearest wilt, because the previous owner cleared everything but left oaks.. a monoculture is never healthy and the few other types of trees like mature cedars, are stressed because of this ongoing drought.
    A lot is stacked against the trees and ranchers in Central Texas right now. If it isn't oak wilt, it's water issues.. which affect all the trees' health.

    I have to try. The alternative is to let it progress for the next generation to deal with.. not an option while I'm healthy and have machinery.

Share This Page