Serious Oak Tree Conditions
Oak tree care goes beyond pruning, cleaning and trimming. While oak trees are known for their strength, they are still susceptible to a range of diseases. Keep a watchful eye on your trees for signs and take action if you notice symptoms of any of the following conditions so you don’t lose your oaks.
Oak Wilt: The Silent Killer
Oak wilt affects all oak trees, although the disease speed depends on the group. According to the Neighborhood Association of Southwestern Williamson County, trees die slowly from oak wilt and may not show symptoms as the fungus courses through the vascular system. Those belonging to the red oak family die rather quickly once infected.
The oak wilt disease is caused by a fungus that enters the tree through entry points in the roots or by visiting insects carrying it. Brown necrosis of the tree’s leaf veins is an early sign. Leaves may stay green or get a yellowish tinge and begin falling off the tree at an unusual rate.
Oak wilt often starts on one branch or limb and spreads throughout the entire tree. Spore mats develop under the infected bark and passing insects and winds can carry the disease from the affected tree to nearby healthy trees.
Trees with oak wilt should be destroyed to prevent spreading. The disease is very difficult to treat and poses a threat to all your oaks once it enters your garden.
Armillaria Root Rot: Look Out Under The Soil
Armillaria root rot is caused by a fungal infection of the cambial tissue, destroying an oak tree’s root system and trunk. The common aboveground symptoms include leaf discoloration, premature leaf loss, and death of higher branches. A mushroom or fungal mat growth near the base of the tree is one of the clearest signals of Armillaria root rot.
Drying out the root system may help combat root rot, but many prefer to destroy and remove diseased trees instead to prevent spreading, according to the University of California. The fungus can spread through many different activities, such as soil cultivation and root grafting with infected trees or tools.
Sudden Oak Death: A Dangerous Pathogen
Sudden oak death is caused by Phytophthora ramorum, a plant pathogen that has seriously damaged forests in Oregon and California, according to California’s Oak Morality Task Force. The pathogen is attracted to water and produces spores at a high rate in the right conditions.
Once on a tree, Phytophthora ramorum can spread rapidly by human activity, the wind, soil transfer and other methods. Some trees are infected through the trunk, such as the coast live oak and the tanoak, while other trees, including the redwood, carry it on their foliage and twigs.
Infected trees will show sickly leaves, leaf and branch death and other visual symptoms. A laboratory test may be necessary to determine the presence of sudden oak death because it’s easy to confuse it with another oak disease. The preferred treatment method depends on the tree type, the type of disease and the length of the illness. Call Best Tree Care today at 512-401-8733 if you suspect your oak trees are suffering from a possible disease.