Firewood and Mulch
FIREWOOD AND MULCH
If you’ve already had trees die, can you use the wood for firewood and mulch? Since the fungal mats form on red oaks only, not on live oaks, the live oak wood can be used for firewood without any worry of spreading the oak wilt disease. Red oak wood needs to be stacked in a sunny location and covered with clear plastic to form a greenhouse effect to kill the beetles and fungal mats. When oaks are shredded into mulch, the aeration kills the pathogens and eliminates the possibility of disease spread. That goes for all species.
About the nitidulid beetle. Is this beetle the only vector of the oak wilt disease? I doubt it. How about mechanical damage to tree trunks, wind, squirrels, hail, sapsuckers and other insects? Fire ants seem to prefer weaker trees over others and could also be part of the disease spreading problem.