May 2021: Oak Wilt Awareness Month

WHEREAS, oak wilt, an invasive disease responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of oak trees across the eastern and central United States, threatens Michigan's oak trees; and,


WHEREAS, the oak wilt fungus can be spread by common sap beetles from infected oak trees to freshly wounded healthy oak trees, especially during spring and early summer, quickly killing red oak species; and,


WHEREAS, the oak wilt fungus can also be transported over long distances in infected oak firewood and unprocessed wood products; and,


WHEREAS, new infections and spread of oak wilt can be prevented by avoiding unnecessary pruning or wounding of oak trees during the high-risk period of April 15 through July 15; and,


WHEREAS, nearly 500 million oak trees make up an important part of Michigan's rural and community forests, provide food and habitat for wildlife, add immeasurable beauty and character to Michigan's landscapes, and are an important part of Michigan's outdoor recreation and wood products industries; and,


WHEREAS, the economic and ecological costs associated with oak wilt and its impacts to communities, utilities, outdoor recreation, forestry and wood products, and other industries are significant; and,


WHEREAS, all residents are encouraged to learn about oak wilt and how to prevent its spread;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 2021 as Oak Wilt Awareness Month in Michigan.