Georgeson said the DEC was surprised to find out about the Glenville oak wilt, because "the closest outbreak was quite a distance away."
Red oak trees are more affected than white oak trees, and the disease can kill a tree in as little as three weeks.
"If you just look around, we're loaded with red oaks in Glenville," said MacFarland.
The most noticeable way to know if an oak tree is affected, said MacFarland, is if a large number of the leaves fall off before July 4.
Roots of nearby trees within 50 feet most commonly spread the disease once an area is affected, but insects can also carry the disease to healthy trees with fresh wounds caused by pruning or storm damage, according to a report from Cornell University on the incident.
Some trees spared
At first the DEC didn't plan to cut down healthy trees, but Phillips said the plan was revised to include all healthy trees near infected trees.
"The DEC came back and said in order to save the state of New York money, they are going to cut down every healthy tree in order to save other trees," said Phillips. "The key thing that got me, besides being involved from the beginning, they had changed their plan in order to save the state of New York money."
In Phillips' yard there were two trees that were supposed to come down in the revised plan, but through talks with the DEC, Phillips was able to save the trees by digging a 4-foot trench around his property. If the trees die within three years of the start of efforts, Phillips will be responsible for any costs associated with disposing them.
"If the DEC came to me and said in order to save the trees in New York state, your two trees have to come down, I would have been sad, but if it was a necessity in order to save the trees in the rest of the state, I would say take them down," said Phillips. "I didn't put anymore trees at risk by saving my two trees because I did everything they said."
Phillips' trees have survived for two years now, and he doesn't think they will die off in the third year. The outcome for the rest of the neighborhood also appears to be good.
"Right now we are pretty optimistic for having a successful outcome," said MacFarland. "When you start looking at the total amount of invasive species that are hitting this area it is remarkable right now how many threats there are out there.""