I have been closely monitoring our timber property in Randolph County, Illinois since we purchased it in 2002. The property contains a variety of oaks, hickory, cherry, elm, ash, persimmon, pecan, walnut, dogwood, hackberry, pawpaw & sassafras.
During the last several years I have noticed what appears to be widespread foliage deformation occurring to the trees. The damage includes leaf cupping, wilting, twisting, shriveling, perimeter discoloration (brown & black), premature leaf fall as well as canopy thinning on the mature oak trees (both white and red varieties). The damage does not appear to be tree specific and seems to be affecting most every variety previously mentioned, although the severity of damage seems to vary by species. The damage appears to be most detrimental to the red and white oak varieties in our woods.
The severity of the damage has been increasing over the years with 2017 being the worst to date. In addition, the mortality rate of mature oak trees has increased at an abnormal rate on our property in the last two years.
As I commute to work I have been observant of the trees and have noticed what appears to be identical foliage damage on many trees in both St. Clair, and Monroe Counties.
Questions for U of I Extension 1) Are extension offices in other counties throughout the state receiving reports of similar damage to tree foliage and abnormal tree mortality?
2) Can we utilize the extension offices as a means to share information regarding the symptoms of the damage (via photographs) to increase awareness to this potentially serious threat in an effort to quantify the magnitude of the problem, identify the cause (or causes) and determine a feasible solution to eliminate further damage to our trees? I will be glad to provide photographs of the symptoms observed. Please feel free to contact me via the email address provided. Thank you. Jeff