Wasps Cause Gouty Oak Gall
This twig disease has been historically disregarded as a cosmetic tree problem. Large growths develop on the stems of oak trees and cut off the flow of nutrients out to the tip of the twig. Oak trees have so many branches that a few galls do not affect the overall health of the tree. However, in recent years this gall has become more prolific, and if an infestation is severe, the entire tree can be killed.
What Trees & Shrubs Are Affected By Gouty Oak Gall?
As the name suggests, gouty oak gall affects the oak species. The following oaks are particularly susceptible without care:
- Oak trees in the red oak group
- Pin Oak
- Shingle Oak
- Red Oak
- Black Oak
What Is The Lifecycle Of Gouty Oak Gall?
Tiny wasps lay eggs on both the leaves and the twigs of oak trees. The gales encapsulate the wasp eggs. Adult wasps emerge from the galls and begin the cycle all over again. At first, the galls are sparse throughout the tree. As more and more lifecycles of wasps re-infect the tree, areas of the tree can be covered entirely with gall formations. Wasps do not tend to travel far from the host tree. Infestation usually occurs on one tree and slowly spreads to adjacent trees.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gouty Oak Gall?
The wound associate with the wasp causes the tree to form woody masses around twigs and branches. These galls vary size but average about 2″ in diameter.
Gouty oak gall is very similar to horned oak gall. However, horned oak gall has little protruding “horns” all around the woody mass.
Keep Your Trees Healthy To Minimize Gouty Oak Gall
Due to the complex life cycle of the wasp, it is challenging to control gouty oak gall. If infestation is minimal, consider tolerating the galls and increasing the health and vigor of the tree. Water regularly, mulch, and consider fertilizing. If possible, prune off infected branches to minimize the number of wasps emerging and prevent more injury.
Insecticide applications have not been successful for the control of gouty or horned oak gall.
Contact the expert ISA-certified arborists at Hansen’s Tree Service to safely prune your tree and remove infected branches. If you suspect gouty oak gall, schedule a hassle-free appointment with our professionals to diagnose the problem and prescribe treatment.