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Oak Wilt Disease Management in Austin, TX

There are currently three primary approaches used for Oak Wilt management in Austin, TX. Successful control usually depends on an integrated program incorporating measures from all three. The first approach attempts to prevent the formation of new Oak Wilt infection centers by eliminating diseased Red Oaks. The second approach involves trenching or other measures to disrupt root connections responsible for the transmission of the pathogen. The third approach is the injection of the Fungicide Alamo, into individual, high value trees. We recommend injections using Macro-infusion technology. These measures will not cure Oak Wilt, but will significantly reduce tree losses.

Preventing New Infections

Infected Red Oaks that die in late summer or fall should be cut and burned, or buried by early Fall or as soon after discovery as possible. This will prevent insects from transmitting the spores from fungal mats that may form in the Spring. If this is not possible, the trees should be injected with herbicide or deeply girdled with an ax and stripped of bark 2 to 3 foot above the soil line. Drying of the wood before fall discourages formation of fungal mats. All pruning during times of high probability of fungal mat formation or in areas of known Oak Wilt infestation, should be left to professional arborist. Most Oaks develop mechanical problems which cause self-inflicted wounding. This includes interlocking limbs, branches rubbing on roofs or other structures and other non-phototropic trees growing up into and through the crown of susceptible Oaks.

Regardless of season, all pruning cuts, or other wounds to Oak trees, including freshly cut stumps and damaged surface roots, should be treated immediately with a wound paint to prevent infestation by insect vectors. Transporting unseasoned firewood from diseased Red Oaks is the number one way that the pathogen is spread from area to area. Oak Wilt cannot be spread by burning infected firewood, but fungal matts can form on firewood in storage. No vectors of any type have been proven to transmit the Oak Wilt fungus from Live Oaks. Transmission is from Red Oaks only. No Oak wood of any type should be stored near healthy trees, without taking proper precautions. This includes, purchasing only seasoned, dry wood and covering all stored wood with clear plastic, with the edges buried. This is to prevent insect travel, to or from the stored wood.

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