If you have a tree with gouty oak gall, you'll know it. This tree disease causes certain species of oak to get these odd bulbous spots and blemishes on the branches. Gouty oak gall often affects several branches in a single tree and can hit one single branch several times. It's not going to go away on its own and will likely worsen with time before you get your trees treated.
What is gouty oak gall and what can you do about it? Will your trees die if you don't treat them? Will the gouty oak gall go to other trees? Learn more about this odd tree disease here so you know how to treat it best.
Identifying gouty oak gall
Gouty oak gall is easy to spot once you know what to look for. It's caused by a type of wasp that embeds in the veins of twigs and branches and lays eggs in the area. The branch then swells up and creates a large bulbous ball of tree matter that continues to grow with time. The eggs that are laid in the branch will continue to get larger with time and eventually the wasp eggs laid within the branches will hatch.
Gouty oak gall won't go away because once the young wasps hatch, they will simply continue the cycle. While the wasps themselves are harmless and don't sting, they may be considered parasites. Some species of oak will produce a horned oak gall, which is like a gouty oak gall but spiked instead of smooth on the surface.
What to do about gouty oak gall?
As yucky and scary as gouty oak gall may look, it's not dangerous to your trees for the most part. The wasps themselves can be preyed upon by other animals and insects so they can be eradicated naturally without interference on your part. If you don't like the gouty branches, simply cut them off the tree and destroy them so you can keep the gouty oak gall from worsening.
You can call a tree expert to correctly identify any gouty oak gall or horned oak gall you have in your trees and have them remove the gall areas if you wish. You can chemically treat your trees and the branches on the ground as well as leaves, but it's not always necessary. Left untreated, the gouty oak gall can affect trees but they should not die unless they are already diseased or very young.