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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Tuesday - July 06, 2010

From: Conroe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Need information about oak wilt and Shumard oak in Houston, Tx.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I want to plant a Shumard red oak in my North Houston front yard, with two Nuttall oaks. I keep hearing about something call oak wilt. Is there something I can do to prevent this disease during the planting process? Should I do prevention for all three trees? I am planning the planting job for October. Thanks

ANSWER:

This "something called oak wilt" is one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States, and is killing oak trees in central Texas in epidemic proportions. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees. The Shumard oak Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak)  and the Nuttall oak Quercus texana (Texas red oak) are particularly susceptible to this disease. Mr. Smarty Plants suggests reading the material from the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership and the Texas Forest Service before you proceed with your plans to plant these trees.The Texas Forest  Service also has a Texas Tree Selector feature on their website that can be useful in selecting trees that are suited for Harris County. Another source of help is the Harris County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

 

 

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