Oak Wilt Invades San Antonio, TX

San Antonio TX

Originally published July 23, 2014

Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that attacks the vascular tissue of the tree, which can be fatal if left untreated. It has been in the United States for decades and has slowly made its way into the urban centers of San Antonio. There is no total prevention or cure for this disease, as it can be spread primarily through open wounds on the tree or more prevalently through root grafts.

Susceptible Oaks

Once the tree has been infected, the vascular system is no longer fully capable of supplying the needed water and nutrients for survival. A live oak can live for years in various states of health, while a red oak tree generally succumbs to the disease within a few weeks. Generally, oaks in the white oak family, such as burr oak and chinquapin oak, are not susceptible to the disease.

The Disease Progresses

In San Antonio, there are numerous “pockets” of Oak Wilt, and many of the communities within the city are very proactive in their approach to the spread of the disease. Currently, the most devastated areas are within the Hill Country of Texas; however, more areas within the city of San Antonio continue to develop the disease. Oak Wilt can also be brought into a community through infected firewood or tree pruning equipment. It generally travels approximately 100 feet per year through root grafts and may be accelerated during rainy periods. Trenching around the infected areas in conjunction with tree injections is often used to stop or slow the spread of the disease .

Treat Oak Wilt with Tree Injections

When treating for Oak Wilt with tree injections, it is often more cost-effective to treat the tree than incur the cost of removal. Oak Wilt will remain an issue in the city of San Antonio and its surrounding areas for years to come. Having an arsenal of tools to treat this disease will be beneficial for individual property owners and the community as a whole.
Trees with Oak Wilt can be treated with Propizol.