Stop Tree Disease
How can I prevent my trees from getting oak wilt?
The above ground spread of oak wilt from sap-feeding beetles is a critical factor in the establishment of new disease centers. Beetles can carry the deadly oak wilt fungus to fresh wounds. A wound can be a trunk scar (from a bulldozer, lawnmower, weedeater or caused by wild life), a torn root or even a pruning cut. Making proper pruning cuts and immediately painting the wounds significantly lowers the risk of oak wilt infection. Pruning paint or an inexpensive spray paint acts as a barrier to the beetles that are attracted to fresh wounds. Hire a professional arborist to prune your trees to ensure that proper precausion is taken to prevent infection.
A Spanish Oak or Texas Red Oaks that die of oak wilt during the summer or fall, should be removed immediately as during the cooler weather on into early spring, new spore mats will develop and the odor of fruiting spores, attract the beetle, and in-turn the beetle carries the spores on to a healthy tree, which will becomes infected.
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What if my live oaks already have oak wilt, or the disease is nearby?
A fungicide called propiconazole can be used for homeowners, ranchers and landowners who have newly infected live oaks or who are in the immediate path of infection.
If possible, live oaks and red oaks should be treated when the oak wilt is within 75 to 100 feet. Close monitoring of nearby oak trees is essential in identifying the oak wilt's presence and spread. It is best to inject trees before infected, as a preventive application, although there has been some success treating trees with therapeutic dosage rates, once they are infected. However, success diminishes rapidly the longer the treatment is withheld. The best candidates for injection are those which are immediately threatened, but are not yet showing symptoms. All live oak trees within a trenched area should be injected unless they have lost more than 20% of their leaves.
Although propiconazole can be used to save individual trees, it is antagonistic to the fungus, though it is not a cure it will extend the life of the tree. The fungicide cannot totally destroy the fungus in the roots and therefore, does not keep the disease from spreading tree-to-tree.
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