Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Saprophytic fungus on mulch
June 22, 2007 - I just did some major landscaping in my west Austin, TX backyard. I added many native plants and mulched all of the new beds. I did this just before the heavy rains in the past two weeks. I now not...
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Rejuvenating old Lindheimer muhly clumps
October 02, 2015 - I've got two clumps of Lindheimer's muhly in full sun in the western (limestone) part of Austin. I'm thinking they've been there for the past 8 or so years. In the past two or three years, the g...
view the full question and answer

Berry-looking parasites on live oak leaves
September 20, 2013 - Dripping Springs TX Live oaks. What are these berry looking parasites on my tree's leaves. As many as 4 1/4 in berries per leaf. I have 3 acres with dozens of liveoaks all having them on the leav...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.