Replacing Trees Lost to Oak Wilt

Over recent years, many beautiful oak trees in Austin, Texas have been lost to the devastating effects of oak wilt. Oak wilt is caused by a fungus that clogs the water-conducting vessels of a tree, essentially depriving it of the nourishment it needs for survival. As a result of the lack of nourishment, the tree succumbs to death, first signaled by the wilted appearance of the leaves in the tree’s canopy.

Certainly, trees are a vital part of the environment and add beauty to the landscape as well. This argument is cause enough for their replacement. However, replacing trees is perhaps most important as determined solely by the volume of trees that are affected by and lost each year to the disease. The question then is not whether or not trees should be replaced, but with what species of trees? The guidance is a mixed bag.

Since the trees lost to oak wilt are undoubtedly oaks, many homeowners may desire to replace the oaks that are lost to the disease. This is a possibility. However, since red and live oaks are more susceptible to the disease, some arborists advise replacing the lost oaks by planting white oaks instead. This is because species of white oaks tend to be slightly less vulnerable to oak wilt than red and live oaks.

It is possible that red and live oaks can be replanted where previous red and live oaks were located and lost. However, it is quite important to follow the appropriate steps for helping to ensure the new trees’ survival. This may include trenching, a process whereby oak wilt centers are isolated in an effort to prevent the continued spread of oak wilt. Trenching also encompasses severing intertwined roots. This is equally as important as isolating the center because transmission of the disease is quite prevalent through the root connections of trees. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist for assistance. With his or her professional assistance, it is not impossible for new oaks to be replanted in the same vicinity as those that may have been lost to oak wilt.

Still, in spite of the loss of their oaks, some homeowners may desire to replace the trees, but do so with other species. It is important to consider those species which will best flourish in Austin’s natural climate, including temperatures, average annual rainfall, periodic drought-like conditions, etc. Considerations for possible tree replacement options should also be made for the size of the tree at maturity, possible hazards due to root depth and proximity to homes and electrical or phone lines, as well as the water and lighting needs of the tree as compared to what the landscape can provide. Simple research can assist you with determining and narrowing possible choices.

If questions or concerns remain following your research efforts about replacing lost trees with new oaks or with new species altogether, seek the expertise of an Austin tree care service to assist you with making your final decisions.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

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