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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - June 15, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my trees as I don't know which neighbors are knowledgeable about this disease and will seal the wounds.

ANSWER:

Open wounds on oak trees provide an attractive entry point for the nitidulid beetle that carries the Oak Wilt Disease fungus. We recommend that your neighbors properly trim the broken limb stubs on their trees and seal the fresh cuts with pruning paint. While the wounds will actually heal faster without it, the pruning paint will ward off the offending beetle.

Large oak trees add thousands of dollars of value to residential property. The investment in protecting your trees from Oak Wilt Diseases is very small compared to the cost of losing them to Oak Wilt Disease. For much more information, please visit the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership website.

 

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