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Preventing New Infections

  • Paint all wounds and fresh stumps on live oaks and red oaks immediately, to prevent the sap in these fresh cuts from attracting flying beetles bearing fungus spores from infected trees.
  • Avoid unnecessary pruning of healthy live oaks and red oaks from February through June, when sap-feeding beetles are most active and most likely to spread the disease.
  • Destroy diseased red oaks immediately. Infected red oaks develop fungal mats that attract flying beetles that can then spread the disease to healthy trees in other areas.
  • Avoid working on or near healthy live oaks or red oaks with tools that have been recently used on or near infected trees (if in doubt, sterilize the equipment). This goes for digging tools as well as cutting tools. There has been speculation, though no proof, that some infection centers were started by infected equipment. In a recent example, it is suspected that several oak wilt infections were started near Georgetown, TX, when a contaminated auger used by a crew to dig telephone pole holes came in contact with healthy tree roots.
  • Diversify our urban forest by planting disease resistant species of trees. Such species suitable for Austin include bur oaks, chinquapin oaks and other white oaks, cedar elm, bald cypress, sycamore, Mexican plum, Chinese pistache and others. For more information on choosing and planting species suitable for Austin, visit TreeFolks.
  • For more information, visit the Oak Wilt Partnership.