Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 Church Directory

County Dealing With Oak Wilt Problem

Oak wilt has been discovered at the Oak Savanna Park in Becker, and Sherburne County is in the process of dealing with the problem.

Last week, the county board approved a contract with Prairie Restorations, Inc. of Princeton to cut down and remove all the infected trees to prevent the disease from spreading even more.
“There are four infestation sites. The infected trees need to be removed, but also trees within a 100- foot radius of each of these sites,” Zoning Administrator Nancy Riddle told members of the county board last week.
The trees were marked by Gina Hugo of Sherburne Soil & Water District in February. There were 106 trees to be removed, with 48 trees less than eight inches in diameter, 56 between eight and 16 inches in diameter and two trees between 17 and 24 inches in diameter.
“I had no idea that there would be that many trees that had to be removed, but now we need to get the trees out of there by April 1,” said Riddle.
Work began last Wednesday, and Riddle said the contractor expected the entire process to take five or six days.
Bill and Margaret Cox donated the land for the park and future site of the Sherburne County Fair in 1997. The 140-acre site is also the home of the Sherburne County Heritage Center.
Commissioner Felix Schmiesing said the tree removal won’t rectify the entire problem. Oak wilt is prevalent throughout the county and there is no permanent solution to preventing its spread.
“I’ve always thought of oak wilt as a fight we’re not going to win,” he said. “I would expect that we don’t expect to win here. We expect to buy some time.”
Riddle said removal is the best way to deal with the problem right now. She said Becker City Park, which is adjacent to Oak Savanna Park, also has oak wilt.
“They also found a few sites and they are taking care of them. That was one of my questions,” she said. “If they don’t take care of there’s, it’s going to be a lost battle.”
Riddle said the contractor is being careful of non-infected areas.
“We requested that non-oak trees not be removed. Let’s not do a clear cut,” she said. “That was one of the things the contractors were required to do - go around any healthy trees that were not oaks.”
The cost of the project is $16,490. Funds for the work will be taken from an account donated by the Cox family for maintenance of the land.