The vines can be mowed. You can dig down and extract the live branches from the vines. The carefully pruned leaves can be washed. The pines can be pruned to give themselves a clean sheet. The late summer shrubs and trees can have the buds pruned off. This may sound like a quick, easy job, but if you’re not careful, you could be dead tree trouble.
If you were on the Ivy, “It was dead when we found it,” said Plant Master Aaron Wilson. That’s because Wilson and Jim Fetting, lead volunteer for the OSU Extension Orange County Master Gardeners, both discovered an apple tree in the backyard of Wilson’s mother that had died from an apple disease called oak leaf mosaic virus.
According to Wilson, most apple trees survive oak leaf mosaic virus. What is Oak Leaf Maturity Virus? Oak Leaf Maturity Virus is a virus spread by insect eggs to apples. It is mainly spread from trees growing in dense places such as backyard trees. When it infects trees, insects such as aphids, thrips and leaf spot viruses rely on the dormant virus to reproduce. The viruses rapidly multiply, killing off the infecting trees. “It affects the entire apple tree and it usually does it on mature trees,” Wilson said. When apple trees die, they usually die in summer, said Dave Lewis, OSU Extension district specialist. “We just found it two weeks ago,” Wilson said. OSU Extension is looking for tips about preventing the spread of the apple virus to nearby apple trees.
Apple Virus Criteria The disease or insect that spreads oak leaf mosaic virus appears on canopy growth to resemble leaf veins. Folding leaves are black and rusty-looking. Most trees cannot escape the disease. Oak leaf mosaic virus is a self-sustaining virus. “If you have oak leaf mosaic virus in the neighborhood, keep an eye out for sick trees,” Wilson said.
Trees infected with oak leaf mosaic virus must be treated, and water needs to be added to the tree and the soil around it to promote root growth, according to the OSU Extension website. The right water, pH level and slow watering may help eliminate the virus in an affected tree. OSU Extension Orange County has information about oak leaf mosaic virus on its website. The Extension has also launched a NITES app. NITES stands for noxious weeds, insects and diseases, and in OSU’s case, it includes oak leaf mosaic virus. Warnings on NITES app Follow orange county’s red and yellow flags for Oak Leaf Maturity Virus with orange or yellow dots. Each hour, orange county’s Red Flag Warning will be read and orange county will set another alert. Weather-wise, remember that hot and dry temperatures can cause oak leaf mosaic virus to spread. Rainy weather can help with the spread of oak leaf mosaic virus.