Frequently Asked Questions About Oak Wilt

Date July 16, 2020


Author TreeNewal Staff

Oak wilt is one of the deadliest tree diseases in the United States. It is widely prevalent in the North Texas region, where it has killed more than 1 million trees. The fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum is the main fungus that causes oak wilt.

To destroy the tree, the fungus invades and produces clogs inside of its water-conducting system. Over time, branches will wither and die, killing the entire tree. Oak wilt is highly infectious and can spread tremendously without a warning.

To prevent the growth and spread of Oak wilt, it’s important to learn about the disease. Below are some frequently asked questions on the topic of Oak wilt.

Is Oak Wilt Fatal?

Yes. Oak wilt is normally fatal for most trees. This is because the disease causes trees to have difficulties in transporting water across its structure. As a result, infected trees will become weaker until they eventually die.

What’s more, is that Oak wilt is generally recognizable when most of the internal damage is done. From that point on, there is no cure for the disease. However, it can be treated in time.

This is the only way to prevent the spread of Oak wilt before it becomes problematic.

How is Oak Wilt Spread?

Oak wilt is spread throughout long distances with the help of sap-feeding beetles. These beetles are attracted to oak trees. Particularly, they move toward the fungal mats that exist under the bark of dead red oaks.

Once a beetle feeds on an infected tree, it can spread the disease to other trees throughout newly-formed vectors. These can include wounds from a chainsaw, wind damage, and even from a thrown baseball.

As you can see, oak wilt can spread extensively throughout a region. It’s essential to keep your trees protected to prevent infection.

What is Oak Wilt Symptoms?

Oak wilt symptoms are hard to spot for many people. Why? That’s because they hide in plain sight. A lot of people expect diseased trees to stand out. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for oak wilt.

With that said, here are the main symptoms of oak wilt:

  • Discoloration of leaves
  • Curled and wilted leaves
  • Complete leaf wilt that occurs by mid-summer
  • Dead crowns positioned toward the upper tree
  • Suckering located at the base of the tree

These symptoms aren’t unique, but if you notice any of them, you should contact us immediately.

What Should You Do When a Tree Becomes Infected?

If a tree becomes infected with oak wilt, there isn’t much you can do to save it. The best course of action then is to prevent the spread of oak wilt to other trees in the vicinity. You can start by removing diseased limbs of infected trees and discarding them either by burning or burying them.

If an infected tree is decaying rapidly, it should be removed by a Certified Arborist. Hiring one is an effective way to ensure that an infected tree is removed and disposed of safely.

How Do You Prevent the Spread of Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt can spread from tree to tree through a process known as root grafting. This happens when an infected tree’s roots intertwined with a healthy tree’s roots. The most accepted way to prevent the spread of oak wilt is to prune the roots of infected trees that connect to other surrounding trees.

This task is typically performed using a vibratory plow that is navigated by a large tractor. Alternatively, removing an infected tree could also work. The cost-benefit analysis of removal vs. maintenance depends on the Arborist you work with, or if you plan to do the work by yourself.

Can You Do the Work Yourself?

People have choices, and they can certainly do their own work. There are, however, the consequences of taking on work that isn’t DIY projects. If you are mindful of protecting your trees, keeping them healthy, and saving money in the process, hiring a Certified Arborist is your best course of action.

These individuals specialize in administering tree services for people and organizations. They are also highly-knowledgeable about oak wilt and can provide expert consultation. Luckily, TreeNewal is here to help if you need urgent help with your trees.

Give Us a Call Today!

Oak wilt can be disastrous to all of the trees on your property. Eliminating the problem is in your best interest. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call today at tel:(817) 592-6846 to speak to a member of our team.

To learn more about Frequently Asked Questions About Oak Wilt, call our Argyle and Southlake based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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