Texas A&M Forest Service urges Texans to gain awareness and protect the environment from oak wilt, a tree disease that often spreads in the spring.
"This native fungus has been affecting oaks for decades in Texas; prevention and early detection are vital to stop the spread," Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator, Demian Gomez said.
Oak wilt kills millions of trees in 76 counties of Central, North and West Texas.
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The school is urging individuals to avoid pruning or wounding oak trees during these next spring and early summer months from February to the end of June.
The infection is a result of high fungal mat production, high insect populations, and high susceptibility to the disease for oaks. Small wounds give off fruity smells to attract sap-feeding beetles who have the ability to infect the tree with oak wilt.
Any wound from construction, livestock, land/cedar clearing, lawnmowers, trimmers, and storms can occur and start the disease.
Yellow or brown veins in leaves can indicate an infection of live oak trees, and seasonal transitions can impact the color of these as well.
Red oaks are most susceptible to the disease and can die just one month after infection. Live oaks are not infected as often but when infected, the disease is easily spread by the interconnected root system. White oaks have the least amount of infection susceptibility but can still be infected as well.
All oaks can move the oak wilt through its roots graft.
The tree wounds from the recent winter storm are no longer fresh but any wounds made as people reconstruct should be painted over to help prevent infection.
Texas A&M Forest Service says that prevention is key but early detection is crucial to limit oak wilt spread.