I was looking to hinge cut some young oaks but really afraid of the oak wilt. Will leaving wounded hinge cut oaks for deer jeopradize the surrounding trees. Aslo in southern Mi, we have two cherry varieties, Black and ?. They appear to have adolesent

bark on mature cherries. Some folks call them sweet cherries. They appear the same as the black cherries in stature. Thanks for your help and have a nice day

Hi Chris,

Great questions!  Thanks so much for submitting them.  Since you mentioned you were in Michigan, I reached out to one of our experts, Mike Smalligan, Forest Stewardship Coordinator with the MI Department of Natural Resources, for help answering.  Here is what he said:

The answer to the question is yes, hinge cutting any oak species, but especially those in the red oak family, will increase the chance of oak wilt getting introduced or spread in a forest in southern Michigan if the work is done in the spring or summer.  The rule of thumb for harvesting or pruning any oak tree in Michigan is to not wound or prune an oak tree between April 15 and July 15 when the beetles that spread oak wilt are most active.  The landowner can minimize their risks of introducing oak wilt by harvesting or pruning oaks only between August and March.  Preventing infection is the best option, because oak wilt kills mature trees in only a few weeks and is very expensive to treat.  See info about oak wilt attached.  More info is at www.michigan.gov/foresthealth or www.michigan.gov/exoticpests.

On a related note, I personally, and many other foresters in Michigan, are not real impressed with the practice of hinge cutting a tree to create wildlife habitat.  While the wildlife benefits are not certain, every professional tree feller I have talked to says that hinge cutting greatly increases the risks of injury to the chainsaw operator and others in the woods with them.  See attached article I wrote back in November.

As for cherry species in Michigan, the most common one is black cherry or Prunus serotina.  This is the cherry of commercial value in Michigan (and quite high value).  There are other Prunus species in Michigan such as choke cherry (Prunus viginiana), pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), and sand cherry (Prunus pumila).  Wild cherry AKA sweet cherry is Prunus avium and this is also present in Michigan.

See attached list of common trees and shrubs in Michigan, although it is not exhaustive.

Mike Smalligan

Forest Stewardship Coordinator

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Email: SmalliganM@michigan.gov


Forest Stewardship: Manage, Protect, Enjoy!

Thanks again for your question and thanks to Mike for his thorough reply. 


Program Manager, MyLandPlan.org