Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oak Wilt Prevention on Minnesota Bound

The first of my three segments focusing on nurturing our oak trees aired on "Minnesota Bound." You can view the whole show here. The episode should also air again locally in Twin Cities on KARE-11 Saturday at noon, and elsewhere in the upper Midwest.

This first one is about oak wilt prevention, a very timely topic since the early & warm spring here in Minnesota lends new urgency to the danger of pruning oak trees in April, May & June. The segment is the "Rapala Almanac" piece right after Ron Schara's segment on turkey hunting in NW Iowa.

I have an appreciation for TV producers and hosts who, due to time constraints, have to convey complex information in a very short time. You really have to try to communicate 1 or 2 key ideas that are easy for the viewer to remember (even if they don't remember the underlying reasons for them). There is a point at which you can simplify a topic to the point of being inaccurate. I hope I didn't reach that point. I would appreciate your feedback - and brutal honesty. (Although perhaps not as brutally honest as my son, who suggested next time I should wear a cap to "cut down on the glare" off my head, or my daughter who thinks my voice on TV sounds like Kermit the Frog!)

The piece has already done some good: A viewer called the show and they relayed her question to me. She had received some very dubious advice from a Master Gardener help line; she was told she could prune a dead branch from an oak at this time. In theory, IF it could be determined that the branch and the connecting tissue at the branch collar were COMPLETELY dead and would not "bleed" any sap at all when pruned, then yes should could prune the branch now. But how, exactly , would one make that determination on the phone (let alone in person)? Why not take the "better safe than sorry" - "first do no harm" - "a pound of prevention..." approach and wait to prune until a safer time?

That was my advice, and the caller was grateful.

(As an aside, she was also told by this gardening expert that tree branches should be pruned as close to the trunk as possible, which of course is completely wrong. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do another segment later in the summer on correct pruning methods!)

No comments:

Post a Comment