Oak Tree Health

Oak Tree Care In Texas

Oak trees require special care in Texas. Many Oaks face health problems due to stress and weather.

Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt is a devastating pathogen that has been found from Mexico to Michigan. Formerly known as Ceratocystis fagacearum  it has now been renamed as Bretziella fagacearum. Most Oaks are able to contract the disease and once infected they stand no chance of survival most of the time. Some White Oak species can survive an attack because of the special tylose cells that clog the vascular tissue called xylem. Its not full proof by any means but it does seem to isolate the disease and keep it from spreading around the tree. That tree if left in place however is a host that may spread to others. 

Fortunately Oak Wilt can be stopped from spreading into your property. Systemic trunk {injections} work near 100% of the time. Considering that a 20” diameter Live Oak is worth over $40,000, you may want to consider protecting your investment. 

In Live Oaks the disease mostly spreads through root grafts in the soil. Live Oaks often grow in clusters and their roots fuse together. The is a wonderful adaptation that allows them to act as a singular organism and share nutrients and water. Unfortunately when one tree in a grove gets sick, that means they will all be sick. Many years ago arborists had fewer options and would cut all the roots by digging trenches between trees to stop the spread. This of course required a bit of guess work and a TON of labor and cost. 

At ArborTrue we sill sample the trees of concern and have results back in 48 hours most of the time. We use molecular detection methods like qPCR which checks for DNA and gives fast, accurate results. Once confirmed we can mobilize a team of healthcare specialists to inject and protect your stand of trees.

Red Oaks area little different. They have the least resistance to Oak Wilt and unfortunately can contract the disease from spores blowing in the air. For this reason, if you live in an area with Oak Wilt, you should not have your trees pruned from Jan 1st - June 15th. 

Oak Wilt can kill a tree in a couple months from the time of infection so don’t delay!

Rapid Oak Decline

Post Oaks across Texas have been declining at an alarming rate. Some experts believe that the Post Oak may even go extinct due to climate change. If your Post Oak is starting to develop spots it may already be too late. The plant pathologists at Texas A&M have been working to identify what on earth is going on. It is currently believed that the problem dates back to the drought of 2011 as the “primary stress event” with other secondary issues popping up along the way such as beetle attacks, fungal infections, and root rot pathogens. The Post Oak (Quercus stellata) is normally a very tough tree. In 2011 it was one of the only tree species that did not suffer major losses. It is resistant to root rot, disease, and pests. It even has special adaptations to protect it from Oak Wilt. It seems as though the Post Oak may desire the climate before humans made it worse. The rapid environmental swings that are providing violent weather changes is simply too much for the Post Oak. If you have a Post Oak on your property you may have some options however. Contact an ArborTrue Arborist today to find out. 

Did you know? 

That Post Oaks were named such by early settlers who used the rot resistant tree for gate posts and door posts. In the often humid environment where they grow, rot would be a problem for a pioneer. 

Post Oaks get so incredibly hard when they die that a climber must sharpen his/her spikes before climbing or they won’t even stick into the tree trunk.

Post Oak wood is the best for smoking meets especially pork. If a tree is cut while green, aged for two months before splitting, and then used, it will impart a distinct flavor of Worcestershire sauce.

Post Oak is a White Oak species. It has amazing abilities to resist infection and often hybridizes with other White Oak the trees including the Bur Oak.

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