Oak Wilt in Austin
The vascular fungal disease known as oak wilt is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum.
This disease can attack any of the oak species although some oaks appear to have some resistance. In live oaks and members of the red oak family, oak wilt is often a lethal problem. Fungicides have been found which can suppress the disease, but to date there is no real "cure" for the problem.
There is as much misinformation about this disease as there is good information. Lately, some well-intentioned folks have attempted to cause panic about pruning trees when there is no real crisis. For 35 years, we have been caring for and pruning oak trees year round and have yet to cause single oak wilt problem because of pruning. Often, failing to prune a tree that is rubbing against a house or being chronically hit by passing vehicles has lead to an oak wilt problem - all because someone thought it was the wrong time to prune.
As the ISA Texas Certification Liaison, Pat Wentworth worked closely with researchers early on to combat this disease. Pat helped lay out the first trench to prevent the spread of the fungus with City Forester Bill Edelbrock in the late 1980's in the Travis Heights Neighborhood. Working first as a technical advisor to the Oak Wilt Task Force and the Save the Oaks Fund, Inc. (SOFI), Pat went on to become the president of the SOFI and helped to stop the spread of oak wilt in Travis Heights - the first community wide organization to control oak wilt in the United States.
Working closely with representatives of the Texas Forest Service, Pat went on to help establish the Texas Oak Wilt Certification program where ISA Certified Arborists are put through an intensive two day training session to learn to identify and control oak wilt.
Working with homeowners, trying new ideas, and assisting homeowners to control or irradiate this disease is something Austin Tree Specialists has been doing for over 30 years. If you think you have a problem with oak wilt, give us a call for a consultation and we'll help you with treatment options. Pat's Texas Oak Wilt Certification number from the Texas Forest Service is TOWC #0001.
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