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Drought as a Cause of Oak Decline and Death on the South Carolina Coast. F. H. Tainter, Associate Professor, Department of Forestry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631. T. M. Williams, and J. B. Cody, Associate Professors, Department of Forestry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631. Plant Dis. 67:195-197. Accepted for publication 13 July 1982. Copyright 1983 American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-67-195.

Extensive oak decline and death along the South Carolina coast in 1981 was apparently aggravated by two severe summer droughts, the first in 1978, which resulted in only scattered incidences of decline and death, and another in 1980, which caused eventual rapid decline and death of thousands of urban and forest trees in spring of 1981. A lowered soil water table is blamed as the cause of injury to the shallow-rooted red oak species most affected. These included willow oak (Quercus phellos), laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), water oak (Q. nigra), and southern red oak (Q. falcata). Hypoxylon atropunctatum was an evident early colonizer of both the declined and the dead trees.