Five foot mega-blade helps solve forest pest

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SPENCER TOWNSHIP (13abc Action News) - Once you get outside the city limits, the Metroparks are one of northwest Ohio's biggest draws.

Oak wilt is slowly tearing apart our Metroparks, and land managers are determined to fight that. They're taking the fight underground, to root out the problem, before it gets worse.

There's a lot of power there. It shakes a whole lot.

This fiber optic cable layer uses a Metroparks custom blade to keep the pest from moving on. Jason Diver is the behind the wheel of the earth-shaker.

This plow reaches down approximately five-and-a-half feet and vibrates. And as we go through the forest, we're severing any root grafts we have.

And that's critical, when 7 in 10 Oak Openings trees are at risk.

Left untreated, we would potentially lose all of our red oaks.

Any time a branch breaks in the area, it can make that big leap.

Oak wilt spreads through these red oak roots, tree to tree. But a bug does the job much faster.

You can have beetles flying around that have been infected with that oak wilt.

The Metroparks team will come into this corridor park between Secor and Oak Openings during the winter. They'll chop down newly-infected trees. And Tim Gallaher says you need to know what to look for at home, as well.

If it kind of just dies for a suspicious reason, very rapidly, I would highly suspect oak wilt.

Before winter comes, you can help stop the spread of oak wilt. Make sure you check the sourcing of your fire wood to make sure that it doesn't come from an infected area. And if an area is sick you'll want to cover that wood before moving it, for at least a year.