Tiny Cynipid Wasps Causing Ugly Gouty Galls in Oak Trees


Oak Galls-
  • A gall is a gnarled mass, usually found on the branches ofA gall found on the oak tree created by the tine cynpid wasp. oak tree.
  • The mass is caused by a tiny cynipid wasp.
  • The bad news is that there is no remedy.
  • The good news is that the galls are not fatal to a healthy tree.

The tree will rarely, if ever, die from the gouty gall, according to the experts. The "only danger" is that if the tree gets infected again and again with the oak galls, the branches could fall off.

Branches that have gouty oak gall can be pruned, according to experts. But pruning is more a cosmetic approach or, at best, could prevent a reoccurrence. Too much pruning may be a problem and be impractical.

Gouty oak galls are caused by the tiny cynipid wasp no bigger than a pencil point. In the life-cycle of the wasp, it lays an egg, the larva hatch and secrete a growth hormone that causes the gall, which is eaten later by the insect inside.

cynipid wasp

This particular gall is one of hundreds of varieties, but the Gouty is the most noticeable. Sometimes there are so many galls back to back, reaching a foot long or more, causing the branches to snap off.

Apparently weather and environmental conditions make it perfect for the gouty oak gall in some years.

Happy Gardening.

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