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Tuesday - July 13, 2010

From: Schertz, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: More trees to go with live oaks in Schertz TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We moved to a new house that has two recently planted live oak trees. Other than those two little trees there is nothing else on the property. Because of what I read about the oak wilt I would like to plant more trees close to the live oaks that can survive in case of a problem with the existing trees. Can you suggest some trees that can be planted with the live oaks I already have. I would hate to see my backyard in five years with no trees at all. Back yard: 70' wide, 30' long. I would appreciate your expert advice. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First, take a look at this Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership website to find out what we know about the disease. Particularly, read the section on How to Identify and Manage Oak Wilt in Texas. Schertz seems to be in 3 different counties; depending on which county you live in, you will be in Johnson County District for Oak Wilt Control (Comal County) or the Kerrville District (Bexar and Guadalupe Counties). 

The first and most important step in controlling Oak Wilt is to not let it get started. Rule 1: Avoid any kind of damage (lawnmower bumps, weedeater, etc.) to the bark all the time. Rule 2: Do no pruning on the live oak from February to June. For more complete instructions see, from the same website, Only You Can Prevent Oak Wilt. Finally, not only can the fungus that is oak wilt be spread by the nitidulid beetle but also through roots, so don't allow your trees to form a motte. Keep root suckers trimmed away from your existing trees and don't plant any more red oaks or live oaks.

Now, on to your original question, what are other trees that will not be susceptible to Oak Wilt? There are other oaks, members of the White Oak group, that are not nearly as susceptible  to Oak Wilt and seldom die from it, but why push your luck? There are plenty of nice trees native to Central Texas that will work in your landscape. Most importantly, just do your planning, not your planting, right now. This is not the time to be planting anything in Central Texas. Transplant shock for both plant and gardener are inevitable, and while the gardener might survive, the plant probably would not. November is usually the best time, and don't buy the trees until you are ready to plant them. Examine them to make sure they are not root-bound and that they are recent arrivals in the nursery and have not been sitting around in a pot for months. 

Follow each plant link to our page on that individual tree to learn what its growing conditions are, speed of growth and projected size. This last is important; don't get carried away and plant too many too close together, that will only cause problems as they grow. 

Trees for a Landscape in Central Texas:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

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