Oak Wilt AlertWe do NOT currently have a known Oak Wilt problem in RROTC. BUT - it has been found in nearby areas and the possibility is high it will spread to our neighborhood.
The following information is furnished by Paul Anderson, director/Beardsley neighbor, who has experienced Oak Wilt firsthand on property he owns just outside Austin.
Click here for a link to a USDA information guide to Oak Wilt.
There is a lot of information on the web, including horror stories of its impact on various neighborhoods. If you ever drive west of Fredricksburg on 290 near Harper, you can see the devastation it leaves behind.
Oak wilt also is spread to unrelated Live Oaks from infected Red Oaks. This is because the fungal mats that produce the disease-spreading spores do not grow well on Live Oaks – an isolated red oak on your property can become infected and pass the disease to nearby Live Oaks.
The short, need-to-know aspects are:
- Oak Wilt can spread through the roots from one tree to another.
- The other way it spreads is by beetles that pick up the fungus on an infected tree and then land on a fresh wound (cut/break) on a healthy tree.
- The fungus spreads to the healthy tree via the wound and then can infect neighboring trees through the roots.
- Oak Wilt is likely to kill the trees it infects, and neighborhoods that have it struggle to deal with it.
- It is not easy to treat infected trees, success rates vary, and the cost is very high.
- Make sure that anyone that trims oak trees (Spanish, Red, or Live Oaks) sanitizes their saws/equipment before they touch your trees;
- Make sure that any wounds resulting from trimming or wind damage (no matter how small) are painted IMMEDIATELY. Anyone familiar with Oak Wilt has a saw in one hand and the paint can in the other: Cut-paint-cut-paint. Check on any contractor to make SURE they are doing this - many will claim that they are, but they have little motivation to do so, as any damage will not show up until much later;
- Try to avoid pruning/trimming of oaks during times most favorable to Oak Wilt spread - the Spring (Feb-June) is the worst time to prune – Feb through June = DO NOT PRUNE.
- Be aware that Oak Wilt is near our neighborhood and beetles carrying the disease are likely present as well as tree-trimming workers that are likely cutting infected trees nearby;
- If you have Oak Wilt on your property, let everyone know (click here) so that a plan to combat it can be developed.