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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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Tuesday - June 14, 2011

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to Oak Wilt from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live near Drippings Springs, TX. Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to the spread of oak wilt?

ANSWER:

No, particularly if you stay after them, but don't accidentally bang against the bark of the parent tree with a lawnmower or weedeater. A wound of that sort will result in the seepage of sap from the tree, which will attract the nitiludid beetle which transmits the oak wilt fungus on his body when he has been feeding at an infected tree.

It is recommended that any pruning wound that is bigger around than your thumb be painted with pruning paint. If they are really seedlings, growing from dropped acorns, you can probably pull them out, but what you are probably seeing is sprouts from the parent root. Left unattended, some of these sprouts will develop into satellite trees, thus forming the motte of live oaks that is so often seen in natural settings. Unfortunately, oak wilt can also be spread through roots that intertwine and ultimately grow together. These connections arise from grafting or from common root systems formed during vegetative propagation by root sprouts. 

 

 

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