It’s Oak Wilt Season. Read This Before Pruning Your Oaks

Date May 11, 2021

Author TreeNewal Staff

Spring is here, and that means it’s time for spring tree care! Many people think that includes tree trimming and pruning, but that’s only true for specific trees. In North Texas, where Oak trees are one of our favorite shade trees, it’s good to know that Oak tree pruning and Oak tree trimming is a task that should be handled during the fall or winter months — and not in the spring. Why? Because springtime is also Oak Wilt season in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is when your Oak trees have the highest chance of contracting Texas Oak Wilt. Read on for more information about pruning your Oak trees and monitoring them for signs of Oak Wilt this season.

What to know about pruning Oak trees

Although you might see some of your neighbors outside trimming Oak trees in the spring, keep in mind that from February through June is the riskiest time to prune Oak trees in North Texas. To understand why you’ll need to understand more about Oak Wilt. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for that. You should only prune your Oak trees in the spring if it is necessary for safety issues. For example, if a branch was fatally damaged during the winter and hanging over your roof, causing an imminent safety hazard. If you do prune, you need to paint the cut immediately to protect it from Oak Wilt disease, no matter the size of the amount. Keep in mind that removing dead or damaged branches can be hazardous and should be done by a professional who has the tools and knowledge to remove them safely. TreeNewal’s tree surgeons are available to help. Call us for an appointment today.

What is Oak Wilt?

Texas Oak Wilt is one of the biggest threats to our Oak trees of Texas. It most commonly affects Red Oak and Lives Oak trees in our area, although it can infect Oak trees. Nitidulid Beetles, which are attracted to the sweet-smelling fungal spores, spread the disease by carrying the spores to open wounds on uninfected trees. Oak Wilt can also be spread by root-to-root contact, making nearby Oak trees especially susceptible to infection. Once the fungus infects a tree, it invades and cripples the tree’s water-conducting systems. If you think your Oak Tree might be suffering from Oak Wilt, call a tree doctor immediately because it could kill your Oak tree in as few as six weeks after infection and could lead to the deaths of other nearby Oak trees.

What are the symptoms?

Oak Wilt first appears as fungal spore mats, which smell sweet and attract the sap-sucking Nitidulid Beetle. The beetles feed on sap from fresh wounds in the tree made from pruning, storm damage, or other injuries and spread the fungus. Once the fungus reaches the vascular tissue, the tree tries to protect itself from the further spread by plugging cells and causing branches to wilt. This will likely be when you first notice the Oak Wilt in late spring or early summer, which will be evident by the yellowing and then browning leaves at the top of your trees. The individual leaves will begin to brown at the margin toward the end of the leaf and then progress down the margin to the stem. As the leaves brown, they will fall from the tree and litter the ground. You might also notice the fungal spore mats, which grow under the bark and cause it to crack. Other diseases cause similar symptoms, so if you notice any of these signs, you should contact a certified arborist immediately to assess your tree.

Oak Wilt prevention

As we’ve mentioned, the best way to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt is to avoid pruning your Oak trees from February through June when Oak Wilt season is at its peak. Protection of high-value trees by fungicide injection is also an option as a preventative measure. Unfortunately, there are no Oak Wilt treatments available for trees that are already infected. TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists are specially trained in Oak Wilt prevention, so please reach out as soon as possible if you have questions or notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Oak Wilt can infect any susceptible Oak no matter their age or health. If your tree becomes infected with Oak Wilt, it might need to be removed to prevent the spread of infection to nearby trees. Work with a professional tree care company with the tools and knowledge to perform safe tree removal techniques, including disposing of diseased materials and performing other preventative measures to stop the spread of Oak Wilt. TreeNewal is here to help and can handle the removal of infected trees safely and effectively.

TreeNewal can handle all your Oak tree health care needs.

When choosing a tree company to care for your Oak trees this spring, keep in mind that a professional tree service won’t prune your Oak trees during spring. They will insist on waiting until the proper time for your tree to avoid Oak Wilt disease. If you think your tree might be sick or dying from disease, fungus, pests, or any other reason, you should immediately reach out to a certified arborist. Our ISA Certified Arborists are specially trained in Oak Wilt prevention and treatment. We have ISA Certified Arborists on staff as well as a team of highly qualified tree care experts. Our tree doctors in Dallas care about tree health care in all stages of the tree’s life cycle. TreeNewal offers expert tree care services, such as tree trimming, tree pruning, pest and disease control, root aeration, and more. If your tree is past the point of saving, we also offer tree care services such as tree removal and trunk removal. We are equipped to safely dispose of any infected trees, branches, or stumps. For more information, go to our website at To set up an appointment, call us at tel:(817) 592-6846.

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