County calls on community to help prevent spread of Oak Wilt in Dufferin County Forest

Dufferin Forest and Oak wilt

Oak Wilt, an exotic invasive disease that kills all species of oak, is present in Ontario communities, making it inevitable for the disease to spread. Dufferin County is calling on the community to do its part to help combat the spread of Oak Wilt in the Dufferin County Forest.

What is Oak Wilt?

Oak Wilt kills all species of oak, preferring those in the red oak group (red oak and black oak). The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the lead agency dealing with exotic invasives and has confirmed three finds of Oak Wilt in Ontario as of summer 2023: Niagara Falls, Springwater Township and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

To help prevent the spread of oak wilt, no cutting, pruning or damaging of oak will be permitted in the Dufferin County Forest from April 1 to July 31.

How does Oak Wilt Spread?

Oak wilt spreads mostly by three means: direct human activity (firewood/wood movement), sap beetles and root grafts.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of Oak Wilt?

Limit the moving of firewood/wood products that spread many insects and diseases, including oak wilt, emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle.

If you perform work on your woodlot/property, avoid cutting, pruning or damaging oak between April 1 and July 31 and ensure you properly sanitize equipment that has been used on infected and potentially infected trees.

Suspect Oak Wilt? Report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at by email.

Help spread the word. Motivate your friends and family to act by sharing information about invasive species and the implications they have for the environment and economy!

About the Dufferin County Forest

The Dufferin County Forest is a 1,066 hectare (2,636 acre) multi-tract forested area owned and managed by the County. It serves important functions in terms of erosion and water control, natural heritage protection, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and support of the rural economy through timber production and employment opportunities.

The Forest celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2005. As part of this celebration, red oak was declared the official tree of Dufferin County. 

The red oak represents a significant component of several stands of the Dufferin County Forest portfolio, particularly in the Main Tract. Many of these stands are also part of the Oak Ridges South Slope Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, which is recognized in part for its oak component.

March 1, 2024

Credit: Megan Ball, Manager of Communications


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