Oak Wilt

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service.

From Texas Standard:

Texas is home to three types of oaks: red, white and live; all are susceptible to a deadly fungus called oak wilt. It's one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States, and it's quickly changing the landscape of Texas – especially Central Texas.

Jim Houser, regional forest health coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service, says oak wilt has been an issue for longer than most people probably realize.

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Austin live oaks have benefited from recent rains, but that rain could also put them at risk for oak wilt, a fungus that spreads quickly through trees’ root systems and can kill them in as little as six weeks. 

Chris Dolan, head of oak wilt prevention for the City of Austin Arborist’s office, said oak wilt enters a tree through open wounds from pruning and forms “fungal mats,” which infect trees and make them susceptible to parasites.