Heat Stress and Trees

The effects of heat stress on a tree can be devastating. Heat stress generally occurs during times of intensely hot, above average temperatures. Most trees can cope with a certain amount of heat, but above the highest threshold, trees may begin to succumb to the effects, which sometimes includes death.

If your region is experiencing above average temperatures, then perhaps the most obvious sign of heat stress on a tree is browning, wilting leaves. This is also known as scorching. Scorching may also be further noted if the region is also lacking sufficient amounts of precipitation, in general, presenting drought-like conditions. This may be especially true in places such as Austin, Texas, where temperatures are sometimes known to be rather uncomfortable.

At times, it may be hard to recognize sincere signs of death in a tree. For instance, the loss of leaves an a seasonally-inappropriate time (such as any season other than autumn) is an indicator of a problem. However, trees sometimes shed their leaves in response to heat stress, almost as a defense mechanism meant to ultimately help survive the stressors. To the untrained eye, this may be confounding or overlooked. It may require the assistance of an Austin tree trimming professional.

It’s also important to note that the effects of heat stress can sometimes be confused as other diseases. For instance, contrary to the above scenario, some trees continue to hold on to their leaves, but the most distal ends may exhibit signs of scorching. Again, to the untrained eye, this could easily be confused for something that it isn‘t.

Consider the following. In Texas, Austin oak wilt is a rather significant problem. When a tree is affected by oak wilt, one of the most marked signs of its presence is wilting of the tree’s leaves. Too often, oak wilt causes the death of a tree by clogging its water-conducting vessels. This doesn’t necessarily imply that there is a lack of precipitation within the region, however; only that the tree is unable to make use of the precipitation.

So, although the effects upon a tree are similar between the oak wilt and heat stress, the problems may have very different foundations. Oak wilt may exist with or without precipitation, but heat stress generally exists because of a lack of precipitation.

If you live in a location where the occurrence of oak wilt is quite prevalent, as well as are periods of excessive heat or lack of rainfall, and your landscaping trees exhibit signs of deterioration common to more than one cause, contact an Austin tree care expert for assistance in determining the cause 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

Understanding Tree Root Systems

For all the beauty a well-pruned tree can add to a landscape, this effect is only possible because of what is going on underground. This is because a tree is only as healthy as its root system. Because roots work to provide the nutrients a tree needs to be healthy, their care is critical. It is important to understand the physiology of roots to fully appreciate the scope of their importance and determine how best to care for them.

It is often erroneously thought that roots grow to considerable depths below ground. However, this is inaccurate. The fact of the matter is that roots typically grown only within two feet below the ground’s surface. This area is responsible for securing the tree in place. Consequently, this is also the section of ground from which the roots are able to extract water and nutrients. Upon the specific arms of each root grow smaller roots, called feeder roots. Essentially, it is the feeder roots that are responsible for the absorption of the tree’s sustenance and, therefore, its overall vitality.

As far as location, it is imperative to understand that roots extend well beyond the circumference of the canopy by up to sixty feet. Why is this important? Not knowing the extent to which roots may grow can lead to unintentional damage. For instance, breaking ground for a garden or building project can disturb the roots of a nearby tree for which one might have been unaware extended to the site.

Alternatively, unknowingly planting a garden or other trees near the roots of a proximal tree can eventually lead to competition between the plants for the water, nutrients, and oxygen necessary for survival. In such a case, the youngest of the plants generally pay the higher price; however, all plants competing for these things ultimately suffer setbacks, no matter how nominal they may seem.

Other circumstances to consider that may negatively impact tree roots and the overall vitality of a tree include soil compaction and the opposing extremes of underwatering and overwatering.

Soil compaction often results from heavy foot traffic, whether from humans or wildlife, the use of heavy machinery on the area, extraneous weight on the soil, as from dirt or sand piles on construction sites or areas of mulch around landscaping trees, pavement, such as sidewalks or parking lots, and hefty, fallen limbs that remain in place for a prolonged period of time. Contact an Austin tree trimming professional to assist with limbs, minimizing the risk of those that may fall and change the makeup of the soil below. These are all examples of scenarios that cause soil to become compacted, thereby restricting the levels of water, minerals, and oxygen a tree needs to survive.

Of course, underwatering is detrimental for obvious reasons. As water is necessary for the tree to survive, insufficient amounts of it restrict growth and may ultimately lead to its demise. Overwatering, on the other hand, may be equally as detrimental, but generally because it deprives the tree of oxygen.

It is also important to note that just because roots lie underground does not mean that they cannot be the cause of a tree’s demise. There are diseases that are specific to a tree’s roots which may kill the tree if left untreated or, in some cases, if merely contracted. In Austin, Texas, oak wilt is one such disease. It can easily be transmitted through the intertwined roots of diseased and healthy trees. An Austin tree care service can address any questions regarding how roots are affected by oak wilt.

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

Dealing With Drought

Undoubtedly, various weather conditions can affect particular geographic locations more than others. In Austin, Texas, one weather extreme may be drought, which, of course, is an extended period of dryness. Couple this with the warmer temperatures that frequently abound here, and there exists some considerable potential for the demise of many plants. This is also true of landscaping trees. Though preventing acts of nature, specifically drought, is not possible, there are some steps that can be taken to help minimize its effects while enduring it.

First, it is important to know the signs of stress drought-stricken trees may exhibit. Although these signs are not all-encompassing, they are actually quite logical and may include yellowing or other discoloration of the leaves, wilting of the leaves, or dropping of the leaves. Also consider the surrounding soil for signs of stress. During periods of extreme drought, soil will harden and become quite compact. It may even begin to crack. If any such findings are noted, it is likely that your tree is suffering from stress brought on by drought.

During periods of drought, it is possible to sustain landscaping trees by watering. Watering should occur evenly throughout the entire circumference of the tree. In other words, the area from the dripline inward should be saturated to ensure that the tree’s roots are nourished. For any evergreens planted on your landscape, it is recommended that watering cover the circumference of the tree up to five feet beyond the dripline. And unlike natural rainfall, which first makes contact with the tree in its canopy, it is important that watering a tree during a period of drought be done as previously described. Watering upward toward the leaves will not produce the same effect during a period of drought as natural rainfall during typical regional climate conditions.

The amount of water to use when watering a tree, as well as the time necessary to ensure the tree’s vitality, will depend upon the tree. However, there is a rudimentary formula that may be used to determine both. The formula typically requires only that the diameter of the tree be known, but it is important to be aware that the level of water pressure used during the watering may alter things a bit. Consult an Austin arborist for assistance in determining how much water and time are needed to sustain your particular species of landscaping tree(s).

Frequently, and understandably, when there is drought, municipalities frequently set watering restrictions. However, there are still ways to attempt preservation of your landscaping tree’s vitality. For instance, use mulch around the circumference of your tree. The use of mulch helps to retain moisture.

Refrain from using fertilizer. With limited or no water available, the use of fertilizer may burn roots or, conversely, may even stimulate further growth of the tree without the ability to maintain it.

Treat any additional non-drought related stressors immediately, including pests, such as those responsible for Austin oak wilt.

Increase the chances for sustainability by contacting an Austin tree trimming professional to help with properly applied trimming techniques.

Finally, when planting landscaping trees in Austin or any other geographical location sometimes affected by drought, consider planting trees more tolerable of drought conditions, especially extreme aridity and lack of precipitation. Consult an Austin tree care professional to determine which species are best suited for this.

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

Tree Trimming to Avoid Storm Damage

Storms are inevitable, especially in certain geographical locations and during particular times of the year. Unfortunately, this is particularly true of the deep south, including Austin, Texas. Here, it is not uncommon for higher regional temperatures and moisture to often collide with cooler air sweeping in from the north. The results can be disastrous. Although there is nothing that can be done to prevent nature’s fury, there are steps that homeowner’s can take to prevent possible damage caused by downed trees and limbs sometimes resulting from storms.

First, it is important to examine your property. Look at locations of trees, particularly those that are high-standing. How proximal are they to important objects such as your home, a neighbor’s home, exposed vehicles, or power lines? Do any branches touch the roof of your home? If so, bear in mind that any high winds caused by storms could cause them to remove shingles and expose the rooftop to heavy rains and possible leaks. Another concern are weak branches that overhang your home. Such branches could easily fall on top of your home during periods of high winds and cause damage, too. Do you have trees near a property line which could fall on a neighbor’s property, including a fence, a vehicle, or their home?

If any one of these scenarios is possible, it is imperative that you seek the expertise of a professional who can advise you regarding trees that may be of concern during stormy weather. Certainly, employing the services of an Austin tree trimming professional can decrease the chances of damage to property, or more importantly life, when storms occur. Not only can a professional identify the strategic locations of possible damage, but he/she can also help to properly trim problem trees. Applying correct trimming techniques can also lessen chances of other kinds of damage to landscaping trees. Such non-storm-related damage may include exposure to Austin oak wilt or even the death of a tree.

Although the location of a tree relative to property is perhaps the most important indicator of possible damage, it’s also important to consider the location of a tree relative to other trees. It is entirely possible that one tree’s fall can lead to damage caused by that of another tree, very much like a domino effect. It is not impossible during the fury of a storm for a larger, weakened tree to drop sizeable limbs or collapse altogether onto a smaller, less hardy tree, which also happens to stand nearer to homes, outbuildings, or other types of property. Secondary damaging effects of a fall are possible.

Consider, too, that trees which stand proximal to other trees create density. Although aesthetically appealing, friendly to wildlife, or comfortable through the provision of shade, especially during southern summer heat, this can be equally as problematic. A fire-inducing lightning strike to one tree during a storm may cause surrounding trees to burn as well. Therefore, brush fire may become a concern secondary to storm damage.

Although nature cannot be controlled, there are certainly steps that can be taken to protect your investment in your property, including your home, vehicles, and landscaping trees. Being proactive in this regard may also help to protect a neighbor’s property and keep you free from any fiscal responsibility due to perceived or actual negligence. Contact an Austin tree care service for assistance.

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

Uprooted Trees

Storms and heavy winds are frequently common causes of uprooted trees. And as warmer spring weather arrives, it sometimes brings with it the atmospheric volatility responsible for these storms and heavy winds, including in Austin, Texas. Uprooted trees may detract value from a homeowner’s property, disrupt a landscape, or cause the loss of a tree altogether. Since storms and heavy winds are inevitable and cannot be controlled, the question arises: Can uprooted trees be salvaged? The answers depend on several factors.

The size of the tree is perhaps one of the biggest factors in determining whether or not a tree may be saved. Smaller trees are either typically such by nature or are indicative of a less mature tree. Small uprooted trees may be salvageable because they consume less mass and are presumably more manageable as a result. They are typically easier to work with, which makes securing them back into the ground less of a challenge.

On the contrary, it may be possible to salvage large uprooted trees. However, to do so would likely require the expertise and assistance of an Austin arborist. A certified arborist can help determine the tree’s viability through careful examination before proceeding with attempting to re-root the tree. How many days have passed since the tree was uprooted and away from its lifeline? Do the roots give an appearance of having dried out? Is there evidence that the tree was diseased and requires immediate action to suppress the spread of the disease to healthy, proximal trees? Or is there evidence that the tree had succumbed to disease and required removal anyway? Undoubtedly, attempting to save a large tree requires equipment and supplies that typically only an arborist would have available. The dangers from such an undertaking make consulting an Austin tree trimming specialist a virtual requirement.

Other considerations to make include any possible hazards that may exist as a result of the uprooted tree. Were power lines in the way of the fall? If so, are any downed wires live or are pieces of metal or other potentially dangerous debris wrapped around or near the tree? One must consider the possibility of a body of water or perhaps rising flood waters complicating access to the tree or endangering those engaged in the effort. Are there limbs which could easily detach and down power lines or fall on workers? Might impending additional storms, heavy winds or inclement weather hinder the process or undo it if completed prior to their arrival? If limbs snap back at workers, they could cause bodily harm if trimming them away becomes necessary in the attempt to restore the tree. Finally, one must consider whether other structures or properties could be impacted by an attempt to salvage the tree.

Considerations to make which aren’t necessarily reflective of a hazard, but are of equal importance include resources, both financial and personal. If professional assistance is needed, what is the overall cost? Is it a one-time cost, or will continued professional services be required for any follow-up evaluations and procedures necessary to sustain the tree? Are there any homeowner’s insurance provisos with which to contend for any damage done prior to beginning possible restoration of the tree? What will be required of the homeowner throughout the process and, realistically, does he/she have the resources, time, energy, and commitment needed to put forth a best effort?

These are just several things to consider when dealing with an uprooted tree. With any luck, the tree may be able to be saved. However, it is best to consult a professional Austin tree care service for assistance.

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

Austin tree service for information and assistance.'>

Tree Susceptibility to Wind Damage

Spring and summer months bring challenges to sustaining landscaping trees. There are thunderstorms, heavy rains that may be a precursor to flooding, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, periods of prolonged drought. There are also incidents of extremely high winds to consider. In addition to regular seasonal storms, these may result from tornadoes or hurricanes. So, what are some of the signs that a landscaping tree may be more vulnerable to high wind damage than another?

One sign of a tree’s vulnerability to wind damage is its shape. The more limbs of a tree has which form V-shaped extensions, the more susceptibility to wind damage. This is because, much like the sails of a ship, the V-shapes serve as a catch for winds. Whereas a simple elongated branch would allow the wind to flow over and escape any resistance of the tree, V-shaped branches catch the wind, also known as wind loading. The loading of the wind in V-shaped branches does not allow for an even distribution of the winds’ force over all areas of the tree. When one area of a tree is exposed more to the winds’ force, it is more likely to suffer the consequences of wind damage, which may include fallen or snapped branches, loss of leaf coverage, or, in an especially weak tree, blow-over.

Another sign of a tree’s vulnerability to wind damage is structural instability, for which several factors may be responsible. Decay is one. If a tree exhibits conks, a wood-rotting fungus, then decay is present, and if decay is present, then a tree’s structural integrity is certainly compromised. When structural integrity is no longer fully intact, then a tree’s susceptibility to wind damage is greatly increased. Another factor is insect damage, of which there is a variety. Insect damage may include that caused directly by infestation of insects to a tree or indirectly by insects’ involvement in a deteriorating process. One such example of the latter in Texas is Austin oak wilt. Though insects don’t directly infest an oak tree, they are responsible for the spread of the disease by transporting spores from diseased trees to healthy ones. By whatever method of insects’ involvement in the deterioration of landscaping trees, structural integrity is most always compromised.

Perhaps a less obvious sign of a tree’s vulnerability to wind damage is the extent of its root growth below ground. Obviously, the deeper roots grow, the more solidly anchored they are. Unfortunately, however, many trees’ roots don’t extend as deeply as some would assume. For this reason, even the largest of trees may easily succumb to wind damage, including being windthrown, or completely uprooted from the ground.

Although nothing can be done to control or prevent naturally occurring events, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, it has been recommended that it is possible to control their wind-damaging effects. Some recommend thinning a tree. The premise for doing so suggests that allowing strategic branches to catch wind while the majority of the branches allow the wind to pass through will lessen the chances that a tree will be destroyed by wind damage. In other words, allowing a few branches to bear the brunt of heavy winds is a better sacrifice than allowing the entire tree to be destroyed because of them. Seek the expertise of an Austin tree trimming professional on this matter before attempting to thin a landscaping tree independently.

Wind damage may not be preventable, but there is valuable information available to determine which trees are most vulnerable to it and why. Contact an Austin tree care specialist for additional questions or assistance.

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

Caring for Storm-Damaged Trees

Spring is upon us, and although increasingly warm temperatures and sunny days typically accompany its arrival, there is also signature stormy weather with which to contend as well. If your landscaping trees fall victim to spring’s storms, there are steps that can be taken to improve the tree’s appearance, as well as steps that must be taken to prevent further damage or even death.

One of the most common ways trees are damaged is from heavy winds. Stormy winds frequently snap limbs. This can be true of the hardiest of limbs, but is especially true of the weaker ones. Once a limb has been torn from a tree, one of the biggest concerns becomes protecting the tree from exposure to the elements. This is especially true of a tree that otherwise would remain healthy, save the lost limb(s), if proper steps are taken to maintain its integrity.

For instance, in Austin, Texas, one potential demise of an uncared for or neglected oak is oak wilt. Unmanaged storm-damaged or broken limbs often attract the vectors responsible for causing oak wilt. If the exposed tree is properly cared for by the immediate application of a commercial tree paint, even a storm-damaged tree may continue to thrive. If the tree is uncared for, however, it is a prime target for the vectors that cause oak wilt, a secondary effect of the initial storm damage. With the neglect of just a very few simple steps that could be taken to save the tree, once exposed to oak wilt, the tree’s demise is practically certain.

Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you with the proper trimming of broken limbs and resulting tree damage. Not only can a certified tree professional assist with the damage that may be done as a result of spring storms, but he/she can also assist with aesthetics and the regular maintenance of trees such that the possibility of storm damage is lessened or even eliminated.

Another possible form of damage that may not immediately come to mind is flooding. This may be especially true if flooding is not typically a weather-related event in a particular geographical location. However, it should never be dismissed as a possibility, as any number of weather phenomena may occur in even the most unlikely of locations.

Damaging effects may come as a result of a major flood event or even as a series of small flash flooding events. Flooding may cause severe damage to the roots and trunk of a tree. There are variables that determine the extent of the damage, of course, but the most common include the location of the tree, the water level, the amount of time a tree’s roots and trunk remain underwater, and the species of tree. As some species, such as river birch and red maple, are more adaptive to flood conditions, any damage they sustain may be to a lesser degree than a species of tree which is not able to deal with such conditions.

Once flood waters recede, it is imperative to gauge any resulting root or trunk damage. This is important not only to the life of the tree, but also to things to which the tree may be proximal, including homes, fenced property lines, or power lines. Whether structural damage to the tree appears obvious or not, contact an Austin tree care professional, who can offer a quality opinion about the structural integrity of the tree, determine if the tree will need to be removed, and can oversee the removal of the tree if that is determined necessary.

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

Considerations When Planting Oaks

Oak trees are a valuable commodity not only in Austin, Texas, but in all of the United States. Because they can live for such a long time, many oaks are a deeply rooted part of the American landscape and have been for many years. Oaks happen to be a treasured species, whether in a natural backdrop or in a private landscape. If planting oaks on your personal property is a possibility, then there are several considerations to be made before doing so.

One consideration to be made when planting oaks is how local climate conditions may affect vitality. Fortunately, and perhaps further adding to their appeal, oak happens to be a species of tree that thrives in the contiguous states. Therefore, Austin’s typical climate is generally conducive to the vitality of any oak that is planted. Although extra watering and care may be necessary for approximately the first year following planting, once established, oaks tend to thrive in natural sunlight and rainfall conditions. As an added benefit, as the tree matures and its canopy size expands, oaks provide a wonderful source of shade.

When planting oaks on personal property, it’s also important to consider any structures on the property. This is especially true if homes exist on the property or eventually will. Because species of oaks tend to grow quite large, consideration should be made for the size of the tree at maturity. You don’t want either the investment in your home (or other outbuildings) or in your tree to be damaged because appropriate consideration was not given to how large the tree would grow to be. Possible problems include roof damage from low or fallen limbs, roots growing underneath the foundation of the home or sidewalks, or even insect or other pest problems within or near the home because of the tree’s proximity. Should low-hanging or broken limbs interfere with your home or other property structures, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist for professional trimming services and assistance.

It’s also important to consider any diseases to which oaks are naturally susceptible, as well as the impact of the effects. For instance, although there are others, in recent years Austin oak wilt has become a widely-recognized disease which affects oaks. The destruction it causes is quite widespread throughout Austin and other parts of Texas. Unfortunately, once an oak has been affected by the disease, there is very little chance for the tree’s survival. However, there are steps that can be taken to prevent the disease’s impact on landscape oaks. For invaluable guidance regarding protecting and preserving your investment in oaks planted on personal property, seek the assistance of an Austin tree care professional.

Oaks are an abounding, well-loved species of tree. So much so, they are now known as the national tree. They are a timeless asset to America’s natural landscape and are growing as such in our personal landscapes, too. Consider any limitations of planting an oak tree, adapt a plan that accommodates those limitations, and bring our nation’s beloved tree to your own backyard.

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

Austin tree service about replanting with new oaks or with a new species.'>

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

Oak Anthracnose

Oak wilt is responsible for the demise of thousands of oak trees in Austin, Texas over the past several years. It affects all species of oaks, although outcomes for each may vary. Because the outcome generally includes an affected tree’s demise, it is best to take preventative measures to avoid the disease altogether. However, if you find that any of your landscaping oaks appear to be affected, it is important to know that there are several tree diseases whose symptoms are similar to that of oak wilt. This is a critical because even minute variations in symptoms may indicate a different diagnosis than that originally concluded. One such disease that may easily be mistaken as oak wilt is oak anthracnose.

Like oak wilt, oak anthracnose is also caused by a fungus, Apiognomonia quercinia. This fungus generally affects the buds, leaves, or twigs of the white oak species. Mature leaves tend to be more resistant to the disease. If an oak is affected, however, indicators include necrotic margins or necrotic, blackened (water-drenched) spots on the oak’s leaves. Often, the blackened spots are in peculiar shapes, and there is a defining margin between the diseased and healthy sections of the leaf. The most affected leaves tend to be misshapen.

There are some rather remarkable differences between oak wilt and oak anthracnose that may become more obviously recognized as the respective diseases progress. Consequently, these differences may be the best indicators leading to the correct and appropriate diagnosis of the affected tree.

Perhaps the most prominent of these differences is the affected species of oak. Although oak wilt can affect all species of oak, it most predominantly affects red oaks. On the other hand, oak anthracnose most predominantly affects white oaks.

Strategic locations of the first noted signs of disease also vary between the two. Signs of oak wilt typically manifest on the extremities of the tree near the canopy. Signs of oak anthracnose typically manifest on the lower and inside area of the tree. This is the area of the tree where humidity is highest.

Perhaps the most notable difference between the two diseases is this. Once exposed to oak wilt, a tree has very little chance of survival. Prevention of the disease is the best bet. Concerning oak anthracnose, however, a tree’s chances of survival are greater. Although the loss of leaves and sometimes twigs may cause the tree to be less visually appealing than a completely full and healthy tree, the damage caused by oak anthracnose is generally not permanent. The effects can be controlled. Such control methods include the raking of dead, moist leaves during the fall and winter months and appropriate pruning of dead or dying branches. Depending upon the size of the tree, pruning may be possible if the affected branches are accessible without the need for heavy equipment and if you are knowledgeable in applying appropriate pruning techniques. If you are not knowledgeable in such techniques or if the affected branches are not accessible due to overall size or cause safety hazards, contact an Austin tree trimming specialist for professional assistance in trimming your oaks.

If you suspect a landscaping oak is affected by either oak wilt or oak anthracnose, contact a professional Austin tree care service for assistance in the appropriate diagnosis 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