Oak Wilt Disease: There might be a time to prune your oaks in spring
January 17, 2017
Oak wilt disease is deadly as it can kill a large established oak tree in just one season. Here in the North Texas area there are oak trees everywhere, especially Live Oak and Red Oaks, the most susceptible. Oak wilt is spread from tree to tree, so planting a wider variety of tree species in a given area is a great way to suppress the disease. This is one reason we often promote diversity in our urban landscape.
Many area arborists will say NO PRUNING oak trees from February to June. The reason being that the months of February through June is the time of year when the spores of the fungus that causes oak wilt is most easily transmitted. While it is often carried from tree to tree by small beetles that feed on tree bark, it can also be spread through unsterilized pruning equipment used on trees affected by this insidious disease.
Many of our arborists are Texas Oak Wilt Certified, meaning they are trained & skilled at diagnosing, treating and preventing this deadly disease.
Here at Preservation Tree we used to adhere more tightly to this philosophy. But over time we’ve learned that there are some exceptions to this guideline. While pruning oaks trees February to June is not always the most optimal decision, there are times when an oak tree must be pruned or simply can be pruned in spring.
When is it ok to prune oaks in spring?
If you live in a geographic area where Oak Wilt pressure is not an issue and pruning is perfectly safe in the spring months.
You have a variety of oak tree such as Monterrey oak that has minimal susceptibility to the disease.
The oak tree in question has hazardous branches that must be removed and waiting until the end of spring storm season is an unsafe option.
When pruning oaks during peak oak wilt season, we are careful to sanitize each tool after pruning so as not to spread the disease. Every precaution is taken.
If we recommend you wait until summer to have your oak trees pruned, we’ll make a recommendation as to when summer temperatures are optimal to do so.
Prevention is Key
The cooler temperatures of fall make it a good time to start preventative treatments for oak wilt disease. If you live in an area with a high risk of oak wilt disease, we offer a specialized injection treatment proven not only effective at prevention and treatment, but is also the most Eco-friendly method. Prevention is key! If you see the signs of oak wilt, call a professional arborist with experience diagnosing and treating oak wilt disease.
Choosing an arborist that is trained specifically to manage oak wilt will give your trees the best chance to stay healthy, especially in areas deeply affected by oak wilt.