Weather Warnings and Advisories

‘Oak Tatters’ Damaging Central Iowa Trees

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DES MOINES, Iowa — While the Emerald Ash Borer is top of mind, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is issuing a warning about another concern.

A disease has returned that is taking aim at some of Iowa’s oak trees. It’s called oak tatters and causes the green area of the plant to appear as if it has been eaten away.

The disease has been mainly in northeast and southeast Iowa, but officials say there have been a few cases in the central part of the state.

Two things can cause it. One is cold weather at the time the leaves are coming out and the other is certain farm chemicals in the air when the leaves are forming.

“The leaves have fully expanded, people are going out and looking and seeing that the tissue is missing between the veins…they’re wondering what insect ate it and why, and in fact it’s not an insect,” says Tivon Feeley, Iowa DNR Forest Health Manager.

Tatters is not expected to damage trees permanently if it only lasts one year.

If you have an oak tree and you’re concerned it has the disease, contact the DNR at 515-281-4915.