Frederick County Forestry Board Addresses Oak Tree Decline At Sugarloaf Mountain



A number of Oaks have been impacted near Sugarloaf’s summit.

Frederick, MD (KB) Areas near the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain have been experiencing a decline in Oak trees. That’s according to Tom Anderson, who has been a member of the Frederick County Forestry Board for over 29 years.

“The older trees compete with each other, heavily,” said Anderson. “This is an area that they didn’t want to cut previously because they thought it would disturb the view — well, some aspects of nature have taken over and it has disturbed the view so we’re going to do something to fix it.”

Anderson said the trees can be affected by a number of things.

“One of the reasons for Oak decline is, kind of in even-age mature trees, they’re kind of crowded, the canopy is closed — it doesn’t really make for a lot of new growth,” he explained.

“If it’s a really wet period, and 2018 was a really wet period, the trees will add more roots,” Anderson continued. “They don’t know that it’s just a unique and unusual year and then when it dries out, the roots can die off and that can make a venue for microbes to move into these roots that were probably over-extended.”

Anderson said extreme temperatures can also add stress to trees. He said typically the younger trees are more resistant to changes in temperature and precipitation.

He also noted that certain types of Oaks appear to be more susceptible to decline than others.

“The Chestnut Oak seems to be the most impacted, but also the White Oak and Red Oak are impacted,” stated Anderson.

Members of the Forestry Board met to investigate the reports of the decline at Stronghold at Sugarloaf Mountain Park on July 7th, 2021.