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Michigan groups team up to fight deadly oak tree disease

Private, nonprofit and governmental organizations are teaming up to fight a deadly fungus endangering Michigan's oak trees. The Oak Wilt Coalition's goal is to boost public awareness of oak wilt disease. The group is led by the Arboriculture Society of Michigan. Other partners include the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, the state departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Michigan State University, ReLeaf Michigan and various electric utility and tree-care companies. 

Oak wilt has been spotted across much of the Lower Peninsula and the western Upper Peninsula. At first, it makes leaves wilt. Then it kills the tree in a matter of weeks. It can be transmitted by insects moving to fresh wounds on oaks, including those caused by pruning.

The fungus also can spread through root systems.

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