- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State and federal agencies are teaming up in northern Michigan forests to fight oak wilt, a disease that kills red oak trees.

It has shown up across much of the state. It spreads when root systems of infected trees graft with those of healthy trees.

Sick oaks can’t be saved. But their healthy neighbors can be protected by breaking root grafts below ground with a 5-foot-long steel blade mounted on a vibrating plow.

Any red oaks within the treatment lines are cut down. Officials say leaving diseased trees standing would increase risk of beetles moving oak wilt spores long distances to healthy trees.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service will perform the treatments in 10 northern Lower Peninsula counties.

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