Jeffrey Hahn, Asst.Extension Entomologist
Photo 1: Woolly oak gall. Brittany Koch.
People have been commonly finding about one inch long fuzzy or woolly looking growths on the leaves of oak trees, especially species in the white oak group. These galls are either reddish or whitish or sometimes both. Despite their appearance, these growths are not disease, but is abnormal plant tissue due to the feeding of the larvae of tiny non-stinging insects called cynipid (sin-IP-id) wasps. These galls are common and like other leaf galls, have very little, if any, impact on tree health, especially if they are vigorous, mature oaks. These galls generally do not become very abundant and their numbers vary from year to year on individual trees. By the time you see leaf galls, it is already too late treat them, just ignore them.