Oak Wilt

Story by:  Brenda Plotkin

Thousand Oaks--That is a defining characteristic of our neighborhood, but what if we lost all of these mature trees?   Oak Wilt remains a major concern in our area according to the Texas Agrilife Extension Office and the Texas A&M Forest Service, and it now covers over 35 acres as close by as Hollywood Park where they have a loss of 500 trees and it’s still spreading.  There is no cure.  Oak Wilt is caused by a fungus and can be spread by bark beetles or interconnected tree roots, and although containment is an option by trenching around diseased trees, it is very costly and not very effective.  The easiest and most cost effective way to maintain the natural beauty and value of our property is to NOT prune trees between February and June and to ALWAYS cover the cuts with paint, including freshly cut stumps, damaged root surfaces and all tree limb cuts.  Any type of paint will work and should be painted on immediately following a cut.

It is illegal for a person to engage in tree care for hire without a San Antonio license, but that doesn’t stop them from coming to your door to offer their services.  If you must prune your trees to improve their looks or remove dead wood, make sure to hire a licensed arborist. (Ball Moss does not kill a tree; article on this soon.)  It is also a city ordinance that ALL open wounds on ALL Oak trees be sealed ALL the time. 

For more information please visit TexasOakWilt.org.  If you do not find the answers to your questions there, feel free to call Mr. Mark Duff.

Mark Duff
Texas A&M Forest Service Project Forester
15110 Jones Maltsberger, Suite 101
San Antonio, TX 78247

Let’s work together to protect and preserve our wonderful Thousand Oaks canopy.  Prune only in the coldest or hottest time of the year. If you hire someone, make sure they are licensed by the city. And always paint the cuts.  Keep a can of spray paint in your garage that you can use to treat any wounds caused by weed eaters or other machinery in your yard.