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Posted on: April 3, 2018

Protect Your Trees From Oak Wilt

Spring is the season for yard work, but residents should avoid pruning their oak trees this time of year to help prevent oak wilt.

“Mature shade trees like oaks increase property value and are an essential part of the Central Texas environment,” said Urban Forester Kelly Eby. “Property owners should take precautions to avoid spreading the oak wilt disease to their trees.”

Oak wilt is one of the most destructive diseases affecting oaks in Central Texas. Common symptoms often express in the hotter months beginning in June; in live oaks, the disease appears as brown veins with a yellow halo on leaves, with the rest of the leaf remaining green.

In some oak species leaf symptoms are less dramatic, with leaves simply turning light green or brown. Infected red oaks will have fungal mats under the bark and a fruity smell given off from a dead or dying tree.

Prevention

  • Paint all fresh wounds on oaks immediately, including pruning cuts and stumps
  • Clean pruning tools between trees or sites with a 10 percent bleach solution or by spraying with Lysol disinfectant
  • Avoid pruning or wounding oaks during the spring (Feb. 1 – June 30) unless necessary for emergency or safety concerns
  • Avoid moving firewood or other wood cut from diseased trees

Debris from diseased trees should be immediately chipped, burned or buried in accordance with local government regulations.

 For more information, visit www.texasoakwilt.org or contact Urban Forester Kelly Eby at keby@sanmarcostx.gov.

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