What is Killing Your Oak Trees in North Georgia?

diseased oak tree in GA

Few trees are so beloved in the North Georgia urban landscape (or the wildwood) than oaks. And our climate allows a whole array of different kinds to flourish in Greater Atlanta, including numerous native species such as white oak, overcup oak, southern red oak, and willow oak.

Nobody likes to see their oaks in distress, but a wide variety of afflictions can befall these noble and (normally) long-lived hardwoods. Here at Excel Tree Care, we can help you diagnose oak diseases, recommend potential treatment regimes, and—worse comes to worst—remove oaks too far gone or dangerous to remain standing.

In this post, we’ll spotlight just a few of the common or otherwise notable oak maladies you might run across in this region, and describe how the wide-ranging residential tree services in Atlanta the Excel Tree Care team offers can apply.

Oak Diseases & Pests in Atlanta, GA

As with many trees, oaks may exhibit similar symptoms sparked by very different pathogens or other underlying causes. That’s why it’s important to have a seemingly ailing tree checked out by professional arborists, so you know just what you’re dealing with and what can be done about it.

Many widespread oak diseases are fungus-caused. Examples of fungal afflictions sometimes seen in Greater Atlanta include Oak Leaf Blister, which produces blister-like growths that red and black oaks are particularly susceptible to, and Hypoxylon Canker, which mainly causes problems in oaks already stressed or injured and can produce such symptoms as stunted growth, yellowing or wilting leaves, canopy die-back, epicormic shoots, and bark-sloughing. (We wrote a blogpost specifically on the subject of Hypoxylon Canker last year—check it out right here!)

Other oak diseases are caused by bacteria. For instance, Bacterial Leaf Scorch—the marginal leaf burn of which is easy to confuse with garden-variety drought stress—results from a bacterial infection that may be spread by root-to-root contact with an infected oak or by insects such as leafhoppers and spittlebugs. Crown Gall is another bacteria-caused disease that produces large—sometimes huge—rough-barked galls in the roots, trunks, and boughs of oaks.

Speaking of insects, they, of course, can cause their own standalone damage to oaks. Take the Solitary Oak Leafminer, for example. Adult moths of this species lay eggs on oak leaves, and the miniscule caterpillars that hatch from these eggs bore through the foliage, producing a characteristic blotchy pattern.

Dealing With an Ailing Oak: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Hazardous Tree Removal Services From Excel Tree Care


Many diseases and infestations of oaks aren’t usually serious. An oak affected by Solitary Oak Leafminers, say, or Oak Leaf Blister normally isn’t at major risk of decline or death. Others, such as Hypoxylon Canker or Crown Gall, can indeed kill oaks in some cases. The most serious conditions often result when an oak tree is also contending with other stressors, such as mechanical damage, prolonged drought, or soil compaction.

Here at Excel Tree Care, we can assess your oak and try to determine exactly what might be causing such issues as discolored foliage, dead branches, or stunted growth. Various treatments may be possible, though often these involve remedying ultimate issues such as inappropriate watering practices or soil problems.

In some cases, tree limb removal or getting rid of an entire oak may be warranted. Turn to Excel Tree Care for such complicated and dangerous work. Our Leave-No-Trace approach minimizes impacts to your yard, and our specialized equipment and deep experience protect your property from damage when we take down trees and grind stumps. Our Atlanta tree removal services include emergency assistance that’s available 24/7.

Get in touch with us here at the website or by calling (404) 964-6508, and let’s tend to that cherished oak tree of yours!