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Oak Wilt in Woodlake:

Some say it was inevitable.  If you have Red Oakes or Live Oakes in Central Texas, the disease will eventually get to you.  Several trees in Woodlake now have evidence of the disease.  At this time, the infection seems to be limited to several properties near the bend of Blue Ridge Drive; just west of the intersection between Blue Ridge and Palisades Point. The Woodlake Board of Directors is investigating and considering options for control of the fatal disease.

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that can quickly kill an oak tree. It is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum.  Oak wilt affects all oak species.  In our area of Texas, Live Oaks and Red Oaks are particularly susceptible.  Symptoms generally consist of leaf discoloration, wilt, defoliation, and death. The fungus is spread from diseased to healthy trees via connections between tree roots or by insect vectors. There is no cure.  Management of the disease consists mainly of preventing infection by avoiding tree wounds, removing diseased trees and digging trenches that disrupt root connections. Chemical treatments are available and are mostly preventive as well.

Transmission via root graft is the most common means of spread, as trees within as much as 50 feet of a diseased tree can be infected. Oak wilt usually moves from diseased trees to healthy trees through roots that have become interconnected (root grafts). In this case, spores (also endoconidia) that have been produced inside the tree travel through the vascular tissue. Most root grafts form between oaks of the same species; red oak roots graft more commonly than do white oak roots, and grafts between red and white oaks are very rare. Although possible, it is rare for oak wilt to jump between oaks of different species via root grafting – different species do not graft often, and so contaminate each other less frequently.

Transmission via insect vectors:  After a tree has wilted and died, if conditions are right, spores are produced on fungal mats that form under the bark of the tree. These mats produce asexual spores called endoconidia, which are barrel shaped spores produced in chains.  If compatible mating types are present, these mats will also produce sexual spores called ascospores in fruiting structures called perithecia.  Certain species of sap beetles are attracted to the fruity smell of these mats.  They will visit the mats to feed and breed, thereby picking up the fungal spores. These same beetles are also attracted to the bleeding sap of wounded oak trees and can then deposit the spores picked up from the fungal mats. This method of transmission is important for introducing the fungus into a new area it could not have reached by transmission via root grafts.

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.

Area of Woodlake that is infected

Oak Wilt in Temple Texas

Oak wilt Suppression Trenching in Bell County

Video of the Beetle that spreads the disease

Fungicide injection video 1

Fungicide injection video 2

More information about oak wilt in TexasHERE

More information about the specific condition in Woodlake and help with trenching, injections, etc:

Duncan Brooks or Seth Thompson
Both certified arborists and both Texas oak wilt certified.
P.O. Box 20882 Waco, TX 76702
Phone:  (254) 791 2522 or (254) 848-2902

June 29, 2012:  Update on Oak Wilt in Woodlake

This is an update to our original story about Oak Wilt, published earlier this month (below).

It was the Woodlake Board of Directors that first called attention to the contamination, earlier, this month.  The president of the Board called in professional help to confirm diagnosis of the fatal disease and its potential impact on the community.

Now, after positive diagnosis, one responsible Woodlake property owner retains professional help to control the spread of Oak Wilt in his yard.  Other Woodlake property owners, in the same area of the subdivision, have been alerted to apparent infections in their yards. 
With neighborhood cooperation, the Woodlake Board of Directors hopes the community can prevent the eventual destruction of more than 100 mature Red Oak and Live Oak trees representing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property values in this lakeside community.

Board members will discuss the problem and consider appropriate actions to take, at their regular Board meeting Saturday, 30 June 2012.

SEE THIS VIDEO of Oak Wilt confirmation and treatment on one Woodlake property.