Trees beautify the landscape in and around Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, many of these trees are susceptible to disease. Learn how to identify the most common central Texas tree diseases so that you can call an arborist at the first signs of trouble with your trees.
Oak wilt has killed thousands of trees in central Texas. It clogs the veins that carry water up the trunk of the tree, causing the leaves to wilt and drop. It’s spread by beetles that pick up the fungus spores on one tree and distribute it to other trees when they land on wounds in the tree. Once a tree is infected, it can also spread the disease to others through its roots. Although some species of oak are resistant, oak wilt can affect any type of oak tree, especially red oaks.
Signs of oak wilt include leaves dying on one section on the tree, premature autumn colors, and bright colors around the veins in leaves. Avoid pruning oak trees between mid-February and mid-June, and paint any wounds left after pruning to discourage beetles.
Hypoxylon canker is another fungus that attacks trees already under severe stress. Symptoms include peeling bark, black spores where the bark has peeled off, and a dying canopy. There’s not a cure once a tree is infected, but you can prevent it by ensuring your trees aren’t stressed by drought. Water trees when rain is scarce to keep them healthy.
Root Rot or Cotton Root Rot
Overwatering can cause root rot by encouraging a fungus to grow and attack feeder roots and the woody root tissue at the base of the tree. Cotton root rot, also a fungal disease, tends to occur in areas with high summer temperatures. Use mulch to keep the soil cooler under trees, and add organic compost to clay soils.
Bacteria Leaf Scorch
Caused by bacteria spread by insects, bacteria leaf scorch creates a bright yellow band between the outer brown area of a dying leaf and the small remaining area of green in the center. Branches may die as well. Bacteria leaf scorch happens in the summer, when trees must endure heat and drought.
Good Morning Tree Service provides expert tree pruning in Austin and more advice on preventing common central Texas tree diseases.