The Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors has taken action to help prevent the spread of oak wilt.
At its meeting on Monday, the board approved an amendment to the code of ordinances regarding hazardous and nuisance trees, according to a press release from Ferguson Township.
The amendment makes it unlawful to prune private or public oak trees between April 1 and Oct. 31, according to the release. During this time is when trees are most susceptible to infection.
Emergency pruning can be done during this time with a permit from the township arborist, according to the release.
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Pruning can be done during the dormant period between Nov. 1 and March 31, according to the release.
The amendment also makes it “unlawful to use boot spurs or spikes to climb any oak tree, except when the tree is being removed altogether.” according to the release.
In addition, the amendment states that the board will authorize the township public works director to take immediate action to abate the spread of oak wilt disease when any private trees are infected, according to the release.
The township budget will cover the cost of preventing the disease from spreading, at no cost to the property owner, according to the release.
The action by the board comes after the discovery and removal of two infected trees on Cherry Ridge Road in Park Hills.
Oak wilt is a fungus that causes the leaves at the top of the trees to turn brown and fall, according to Penn State Extension. This then progresses down the tree. The fungus attacks most oaks, but it particularly affects those in the red oak group.