One common tree disease that Texas homeowners deal with, specifically for oak trees, is Oak wilt. If you live in New Caney, and have oak trees, you’re probably familiar with this fungal tree disease.
Oak wilt is a serious ornamental tree disease that can be rapidly fatal for trees in the Red oak group (those oaks with pointed leaf edges). White oak tree species (with rounded leaf margins) may also be affected, but not nearly as rapidly as Red oaks.
Normal landscaping activities that might wound trees, like trimming, climbing with spikes, nailing signs, storm damage, or even hanging lanterns on trees during the warmer months of the season can result in new tree infections. Dying Red oaks on your property can lead to high removal costs and high Red oak mortality rates in forested areas can harm large ecosystems.
What Are the Signs of Oak Wilt?
Infected oak tree leaves will usually take on a bronzed, brownish color (or you will see “leaf drop”) during the summer. Leaf tips and edges will show browning/bronzing, but the leaf base will stay green. Other tree maladies can show similar symptoms, so you may want to have your suspicions verified by an arborist or other expert to know what you’re dealing with.
Once the fungus enters your oak tree (i.e., fungal spores coming into contact with a tree wound or through interconnecting root grafts), it grows throughout the tree’s water conducting channels. These channels are eventually blocked, and eventually, water transport throughout the tree slows down and stops altogether. Hence, the wilting.
How to Help Prevent Oak Wilt
Here are some steps to help you do what you can to prevent Oak wilt from damaging your beloved trees:
- No pruning between March 15 to September 15. As you can, try to limit other activities that might wound your trees during these months.
- Paint any wounds (e.g., from storms) with tree wound paint or latex-based paint as quickly as possible. Beetles are notorious for quickly finding their way into tree wounds (within a few minutes).
- No moving firewood from trees killed by Oak wilt. If you do cut a dead oak tree for firewood, stack the wood, and then cover the pile with a thick plastic sheet. Bury the edges of the plastic underground. Leave the woodpile alone for at least 6 to 12 months to allow it to properly dry. The fungus will not be able to continue in the dry wood.
- Get your trees professionally tested for Oak wilt to confirm. Be sure to verify the existence of the fungal infection.
- Report infected trees as quickly as possible to your state’s Department of Natural Resources.
You’re proud of your yard and oak trees, but you find yourself spending too much time managing problems and fungi, and not enough time enjoying your yard with friends and family. It’s time to get some help. Keep treating your yard, oak trees, and garden consistently to help keep them healthy, but call our New Caney, TX pest and garden control experts today at 832-898-0190 or email us at [email protected] for a consultation. We can help you manage your yard, tree, garden, and insect pest problems and show you how to keep your yard and trees healthy. Save yourself all sorts of money, stress, and time. Enjoy your yard and your time with family and friends!