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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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Monday - November 17, 2014

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Oak Wilt in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We have lost several live oaks to oak wilt. Another couple are dying but still have some green leaves. Is it OK to cut down these trees now or should we wait until they are entirely dead? I've heard early removal will result in the wilt spreading to other trees nearby more quickly.

ANSWER:

   Hmmm, I’ve not heard that one.  There is quite a bit of question/answer discussion with Mr Smarty Plants with respect to Oak Wilt.  I’ll quote them next.  Our recommended time to trim Oaks is November to January, making this a good time to cut the Oak trees.  There are three mechanisms commonly quoted for the spread of the wilt.  One is transfer by infected tools [perhaps the source of your comment on early removal?]. The second is a similar mechanism of transfer via the Nitidulid beetle from a cut infected tree to a new victim, this is why trimming in November to January is recommended [or the heat of summer].  The third is from tree to tree via their intertwined root systems.  This mechanism would argue for removal of infected trees.  In all cases, the earlier the treatment or removal of infected trees, the better.

Here are several of those question/answer pairs, that should give you a sense of direction for this.

Trimming of Escarpment Oak from Austin 
When is it time to remove diseased oak trees in Belton, TX?
Time for trimming oaks from Boerne TX
Possibility of oak wilt in red oak in Austin  
When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
Safe time to trim live oak trees 
Best time to trim oak trees to avoid oak wilt  

   This is a serious decision though.  I would recommend the help of professionals.  More information and references can be found at  TexasOakWilt.org. Good sources could also be someone from the Williamson County office of Texas Agrilife Extension, someone from the Texas Forest Service , or a Certified Arborist . They should be able steer you well.

 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

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