Much of Texas suffers from the deadly virus known as Oak Wilt. There is a lot of good information on this disease on the internet or from government offices. In general, if a tree is infected, it will usually die in a few days or weeks. The disease spreads through tree to tree root contact and by beetles that are attracted to the sap from a fresh wound. The beetles get the spore on them where it grows, usually in the loose bark matt of a dead Red Oak tree. Some say that woodpeckers can also spread Oak Wilt.
Most of our species are not known to contract Oak Wilt except the Southern Live Oak and Shumard Red Oak. If you are planting where there is active disease, it is advisable to avoid these species. Nevertheless, our experience indicates that the disease seems to "move through" an area over several years with young Live Oaks returning to the formerly effected area. Another observation is that there are many Red Oaks present, even in the worst hit areas, especially on the hillsides. It seems that these trees don't spread the disease in large groups of trees like the live oaks.
Myth: We sometimes hear that the Red Oak is a carrier of Oak Wilt. This is not true in the sense that a healthy tree does not somehow bring Oak Wilt. We believe this "carrier" label rose out of the beetles living under the loose bark of a dead red oak.
Finally, there are chemical and other treatments available for Oak Wilt. In some cases, trees can be saved. Also, many people have trenched around effected areas to prevent the root to root spread of the disease, but we have heard many stories of this failing over time, especially on large properties with lots of active disease in the area.
Questions? Feel free to contact our Tree Nursery