September 2017

0

Oak wilt has affected tens of thousands of oak trees in central and south Texas.  It is so important to be able to spot oak wilt and prevent it from spreading.

Oak wilt is a fungus that grows inside of oak trees and blocks the tree from transporting water to the rest of the tree.  This causes the trees to become dehydrated, and eventually, die.  A tree affected by oak wilt will appear as if autumn is being forced upon it, with the leaves turning orange and brown.  Oak wilt is a highly contagious fungus that can spread from tree to tree.  Beetles are attracted to the sweet smelling fungus and can carry it to other trees through open cuts on the tree caused by natural damage and pruning.  Storing infected wood near healthy oaks can also lead to the spread of oak wilt.  Oak wilt can also be passed to other trees via the root systems.

Once you have detected symptoms of oak wilt, it is important to act fast.  Submit a sample of your suspected oak wilt to a laboratory to confirm that your tree does, indeed, have oak wilt.  Once this is confirmed, there are important steps to take to prevent spreading.

  1. Prevent new infections by cutting down the tree in the late summer or early winter.  Burn, chip or bury the remainder of the tree to prevent the spreading of oak wilt.  If this cannot be done, it is important to inject the tree with herbicide to prevent the further spreading of oak wilt.
  2. It is important to remember not to prune between February through June, as oak wilt can access open wounds.  Once any type of pruning has been performed, paint over the pruned area with tree paint to further prevent any oak wilt.
  3. It is possible to stop oak wilt by breaking the connection between the roots of oak trees.  You can sever the roots by trenching at least four feet around your infected tree.
  4. Fungicide injections can also be used in conjuction with trench treatment, as the fungicide does not prevent oak wilt, but treats it instead.  It is important for the protection of your trees to hire a professional who can make sure the treatments are done properly.

Oak wilt is unfortunately very common in Texas, and it is important to protect our oak trees from this damaging fungus.  What are some of your concerns about oak wilt?

 

Photo courtesy of the USDAF

As many experienced with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the high winds and excessive rains took a toll on their trees and landscaping. Much of the care for trees after a hurricane should be done by professional arborists who have the equipment and training to do the job safely. You can take care of the small branches and the debris around your property, but consult with a professional about a plan of action in dealing with some of the larger items. Fallen Trees often topple power lines and even fall directly onto your home. These issues should be dealt with first.

Often your trees will have sustained damage to many of its branches, but carful removal of these limbs may allow the tree to survive. Young trees planted within the past few years are often pushed over by high winds. Trees that are less than 10 inches wide and planted within about six years can generally be saved. It is not practical to straighten larger, more mature trees that have blown over.

Call us today if you need help dealing with your larger trees. We have the equipment to deal with any sized tree or job.

Oak trees are America’s tree, and rightly so.  The beautiful tree is a symbol of strength and wisdom.  It’s important to prune your oak tree to keep it healthy for many years to come.

Pruning your oak tree keeps your tree healthy for centuries.  To begin, it’s vital that you do not prune your trees in the summer months, while it is growing.  Wounds on your tree can make it susceptible to disease and infection, causing your tree to develop wilt and die.  Trimming your tree once a year during its dormant season is ideal, usually during mid to late winter.

Prepare your tools by soaking them in one part bleach and nine parts water.  This will protect the tree from disease.  Rinse your tools and let them dry overnight before beginning your pruning.

Next, you will need to establish a dominant, or leader, branch of your tree.  Take a look at your tree and pay attention to the largest branches.  Trim the other branches to allow your leader branch to get the most sunlight and become the tallest branch of the tree.    Make sure not to trim more than a third of the canopy to allow for healthy growth and healing of your tree.

Pruning a tree while it’s young is a good way to help your oak tree establish a good growing pattern and encourage healthy growth.  Avoid over-pruning your oak tree.

Oak tree can live to be over two hundred years old with proper care!  If you are unsure about the best way to trim your oak tree, there are many certified professionals who can assist.

What advice can you offer a novice oak tree pruner?