Treating Oak Wilt

Oak trees are a valuable addition to any landscape in Austin. However, in the recent past, many of these majestic trees have succumbed to a disease known as oak wilt. This disease is responsible for the destruction of oaks by the thousands. Although there is no known cure for the disease, there are methods for treating it, which may prolong the life of the tree. Let’s examine some of the methods for oak wilt treatment.

One of the primary ways in which oak wilt is spread is through the root system. An infected tree can easily pass the disease along to a healthy tree through an interconnected root system. This may be prevented if a buffer is put into place. A buffer severs the interconnected root system, thereby protecting a healthy oak from an infected one. Recommendations for creating a barrier include establishing a trench at least 100 feet from the nearest oak wilt-infected tree. Using the appropriate machinery, the trench should be dug at least four feet deep and then backfilled.

Another primary way in which oak wilt is spread is through sap-feeding beetles. Because these insects are more active during specific times of the year in specific locations, pruning or mowing injuries, such as cuts or wounds, may make the perfect feeding place for the beetles and, consequently, the perfect place for infestation of the fungus that causes oak wilt. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist with questions concerning the appropriate times to prune an oak.

Since oak wilt is caused by a fungus, treatment typically includes the use of a fungicide. The fungicide is applied to the trunk using one of two methods: macro-injection or micro-injection. The essential differences between these two methods are the amount of water used in conjunction with the fungicide and the size of the holes drilled into the tree for treatment. Macro-injection requires more water and more wounding to the oak, and micro-injection requires less water and less wounding to the oak. However, both treatments typically use the same amount of fungicide. An Austin tree care professional can address any questions you may have about which method of treatment is better for your oaks.

You may prevent oak wilt by immediately covering any cuts or wounds. This can be accomplished using a wound paint and is especially important during those times of the year when insect activity is increased. By applying wound paint, a barrier both covers the injury, as well as establishes a protective layer between the wound and the fungal spores beetles may carry. This protective barrier may prevent transmission of the disease through the open wound.

Finally, another protective measure that may be taken to prevent the spread of oak wilt is to carefully examine firewood. If the origin of the firewood or its condition is in question, research suggests that it is best to cover the wood with clear plastic and secure it by digging it into the ground, thereby preventing the spread of insects if there is an infestation. To provide better protection for localized healthy oaks, use the firewood the year it is harvested. The fire will destroy any remaining spores or insects. Additionally, for oaks that die during spring or the early part of summer, dieoff should be complete, and the firewood, therefore, able to be used, by fall.

Although oak wilt has become increasingly prevalent in Austin, there are actions which can be taken to treat it or perhaps prevent it altogether. Seek the expertise of an Austin tree service to assist you in effective prevention and treatment.

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

Oak Wilt

Oak trees are one of the more popular and commonly planted landscaping trees. This great species is also a staple of the natural American landscape. However, oaks can easily succumb to a disease known as oak wilt. In recent years, this disease has destroyed a significant number of oaks in the Austin, Texas area. In order to prevent Austin oak wilt, it is important to understand the disease–its origin and how to treat it.

Although it is not the number one disease that kills oaks, oak wilt it is considered the most commonly known. It is caused by a fungus known as Ceratocystis fagacearum. The disease manifests itself through fungal spores that invade an oak and clog its water conducting system.

The disease is spread through two primary agents:

One is through beetles which feed on the sap of oaks. Beetles frequently carry oak wilt spores to non-infected oaks and introduce the pathogen through a fresh wound. The wounds may be caused by a number of factors, including wind damage or inappropriate trimming. However they may exist, wounds must be appropriately treated in order to decrease the chances that an oak will succumb to the effects of oak wilt.

Introduction of these spores by insects may also lead to the second agent frequently responsible for spreading the oak wilt. Once an oak is affected by fungal spores, the possibility for a continued, rapid spread of the disease to other oaks exists through an interconnected root system. Severing the root system of affected trees from other localized, unaffected trees is the only means by which to prevent the continued spread. Consult an Austin tree trimming professional to assist you with this, as he/she will possess the equipment necessary for such an undertaking.

There is no known cure for oak wilt, so prevention is key. For instance, there are specific times of year when pruning an oak is more ideal. Pruning during the extremely hot, dry summer months is beneficial, as there is a decreased spore production during this time period. Conversely, pruning during the extremely cold winter months is equally beneficial due to a reduced amount of insect activity. Additionally, should an oak have one, immediate treatment of a fresh wound may prevent spore contamination and preserve the life of the tree. This can be accomplished using pruning paint. Taking several, very achievable steps can lessen the chances that an oak becomes affected by the disease.

Oaks are a valuable landscaping commodity in Austin. Their value can be maintained through knowledge of oak wilt and some forethought of preventative care. However, if you still have questions concerning oak wilt, its appearance, effects, or treatment, contact an Austin tree care professional to assist you.

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

Services That Arborists Can Provide

By definition, an arborist is a trained specialist who plants and cares for trees.  Arborists must continue their education to keep existing certifications, as well as update their knowledge bank on what is up and coming regarding the art and science of trees.  Such an individual can assist in the management of your tree appearance and health, as well as the proper selection of tree species for your property.  A weak or unhealthy tree can become a liability.  Additionally, choosing the wrong species of tree for your property can also become a liability.  In considering the time and cost of planting and caring for a tree, an arborist is a handy option.

There is much to know when caring for a new tree.  Arborists are trained in placing a tree in the healthiest position on your property.  A crowding of trees can cause harm to the new tree, as well as other trees surrounding it.  Watering and feeding a new tree is also an art.  If you have the means to hire an arborist, a watering and feeding schedule can be arranged for your assorted trees.

Arborists are additionally skilled in the overall maintenance of trees.  An arborist’s work includes:  the removal of dead or weakening limbs, elimination of limbs that interfere with your gutters or roof, as well as the elimination of branches that can obstruct public walkways or streets.  Arborists can also create bracing for weak branches, spray trees for insect control and fertilize.

As well as maintaining trees, an arborist can be called upon for emergency tree care.  Heavy storms that include rain, wind and lightning, can be detrimental to your trees.  Often times, the weight of the tree segments can be too awkward or heavy to move.  Arborists are trained in removal of large or broken limbs within a safe parameter.

Circumstances can arise when a tree must be removed.  Although, this is often a last resort, it is quite necessary for the health and growing efficiency of its surrounding trees.  Removal of your tree is recommended when the tree:

•    is dead

•    becomes hazardous or creates obstructions that cannot be corrected

•    is to be replaced with another tree

If you choose to hire an arborist:

•    check for professional memberships to organizations such as the:  International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), or the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).  If an individual shows you their memberships information, be sure the date of membership is still valid.

•    check for an ISA certification.  Certified arborists are professionals that have passed examinations that cover all aspects of tree care.

•    ask for references, to find out where the individual has previously worked.  Do not feel awkward calling the references.  Remember, tree care is a long-lasting investment!

•    get more than one estimate before hiring an arborist.  Also, do not feel the lowest bid is always the best deal.  Arborists are experienced professionals that should know to include additional materials and permit fees in their bids.

•    do not be afraid to ask questions!  Arborists are more than often excited for the work they perform.  A good arborist will appreciate your questions and be excited to answer them for you.

Choosing to have an arborist plant or care for your trees is your option.  Some individuals choose to take the task on themselves, working their green thumb.  Being educated about your choices is always in your favor!

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