Oak Wilt

What is Oak Wilt?
Oak Wilt is a very serious tree disease that is killing oak trees in Central Texas at epidemic proportions. It is an infectious disease caused by a fungus which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees.  Oak wilt not only impacts trees, it impacts our community.  It affects aesthetics, decreases property values, and is expensive to manage.  PREVENTION is KEY.

Susceptible Oaks

The oaks that are particularly susceptible to Oak Wilt include:

  • Red Oaks
  • Spanish Oaks
  • Shumard Oaks
  • Blackjack Oaks
Live Oaks are also susceptible and happen to be the most numerous trees in our area. The Live Oaks tendency to grow from root sprouts and to have interconnecting root systems allows for quick spread of the disease amongst Live Oaks.
Oak Wilt Map 2020 v4

Non-Susceptible Oaks

When planting trees consider planting Oaks that are not susceptible to Oak Wilt, including White Oaks such as:

  • Post Oaks
  • Bur Oaks
  • Chinkapin Oaks

These are resistant to the fungus and seldom die from the disease. Also, consider planting other Texas Hill Country Native trees from a list compiled by the Native Plant Society of Texas Boerne Chapter.

Managing Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt can be managed in three basic ways: 

  • Prevention – Early detection and proper disposal of infected trees. Disinfect pruning tools prior to cutting; use an all-purpose household disinfectant or denatured methyl/isopropyl alcohol. Paint all wounds immediately with latex or commercial tree wound paint.  Avoiding pruning trees between February and June. Proper storage of firewood to prevent fungal mat spread. Planting trees that are not susceptible.  Hire only qualified professionals to prune and maintain your trees.
  • Containment - Trenching 100 feet from infection area and severing of all interconnecting roots.
  • Fungicide Treatment - Fungicides used as a preventative treatment may show some success in the early stages of the disease.

More Questions?  Visit Texas A&M Forest Service at:  Oak Wilt in Texas