Agents and Foresters operating in West Tennessee:
Some of you are observing severe browning of the crowns of red oak throughout the region. In glancing from a distance, the trees appear dead. After examining several red oaks in Fayette County today, the conclusion is that the late season heat and drought is leading to early senescence. The limb tips are still healthy and pliable; cambium scratch test reveals green underneath; buds are present and full. The attached photo is very characteristic of the view adjacent to many fields in the region. You can see why folks are concerned, but I believe with normal growing conditions next year, most of these trees should recover.
David Mercker, Ph.D., CF.
University of Tennessee
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson TN 38301