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Mr. Smarty Plants - Is post oak resistant to oak wilt from Dallas TX

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Friday - November 22, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Is post oak resistant to oak wilt from Dallas TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am confused. The NPIN website says that Post Oak IS susceptible to oak wilt, but all the other information I have been able to find says that it is resistant to oak wilt and rarely gets the diesase. Can you tell me where the information on the NPIN website originates from or if perhaps it is an error?

ANSWER:

Don't feel alone. The facts on Oak Wilt are confusing to everyone. We did find the line on our wepage for Quercus stellata (Post oak) that you mentioned:

"Susceptible to oak wilt. Not often used in landscape situations. Slow-growing and long-lived." The Post Oak is a White Oak.

We will go to another source, texasoakwilt.org, for some clarification, if possible. We suggest you scan the whole site. From the Introduction to that site: "All oaks (Quercus spp.) are susceptible to oak wilt to some degree, but some species are affected more than others." Also from that website:

"Patterns of Tree Mortality

 Most live oaks defoliate and die over a 1- to 6-month period following initial appearance of symptoms. Some live oaks take longer to die, and a few untreated trees may survive many years in various stages of decline. Occasionally, a few live oaks in an oak wilt center may escape infection and remain unaffected by the disease.

Red oaks never survive oak wilt and often die within 3 to 4 weeks following the initial appearance of symptoms. During summer months, diseased red oaks often can be spotted from a distance because of their bright autumn-like coloration in contrast to the surrounding greenery."

From the Texas A&M Forest Service, here is a map of the counties in which oak wilt appears in Texas. Also from that site:

"Oak wilt has been found in over 73 counties and in almost every city in Central Texas, as well as, Abilene, Midland, Lubbock, Dallas, Ft. Worth, College Station, Houston, and San Antonio. It can be a problem wherever live oaks tend to be the predominate tree. It does not matter whether they are transplanted or naturally grown. An individual tree’s age, size or previous health status does not make it more

"Red oaks, particularly Spanish oak (Quercus buckleyi), are very susceptible to the fungus.  White oaks, like post oak (Q. stellata) and bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), are resistant to the fungus and rarely die from the disease."

Bottom line: If you want to add oaks to your landscape, a post oak is probably less  likely than the red oaks and live oaks to contract Oak Wilt. If you choose the post oak or have some on your property that you wish to protect, you should still follow the management policies from the Management section of texasoakwilt.org.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Post oak
Quercus stellata

Post oak
Quercus stellata

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