YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An aggressive disease has the potential to kill a tree in just a few weeks and infect other nearby trees in the process.

Oak Wilt is a vascular disease of oak trees. Davey Tree Expert Kevin Crump says the disease is showing up in pockets right now and is very contagious.

“We see it in neighborhoods. Sometimes, we will see an outbreak in five to ten trees and then sometimes we won’t see any. It’s very spotty at this time, so we have to take it seriously,” Crump said.

Once Oak Wilt takes hold, it is hard to stop. If you have an oak tree, watch out for changing foliage. If it’s July and the leaves are changing, it could be the start of a major problem.

Whole branches and the tops of the trees can turn reddish-brown. Also, individual leaves can show yellowing and browning from the outer margins.

The bark of the tree can be affected, too. Look for marring in the bar and mats of fungus.

If your tree is infected, it’s important to take care of it right away because the disease can spread easily to other trees.

“If you lose a tree at house to Oak Wilt, it can spread to your neighbors property,” Crump said. “One of the things we do is sanitary pruning methods. We clean our tools when we are done because we can take it from one tree to another if we aren’t doing our job properly.”

Once symptoms show up, it’s unlikely to save the tree but disposing of it very important and a tree expert can help you do that.