Weatherford Democrat

Parker County Master Gardeners

January 26, 2014

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Have oak wilt in your woodpile?

Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to pcmgaquestions@gmail.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.

Can oak wilt be spread from a dead oak tree that is cut up and placed on a woodpile?

Oak wilt is a disease that has devastated the red oaks (Texas, Shumard and Blackjack) and live oaks in Parker County. The disease does not affect our native post oak. Firewood is rarely a source of the oak wilt infection, but you should protect your neighborhood by managing firewood to avoid infection.

If the wood came from an infected red oak tree that has fungal mats, then beetles may visit the fungal mats and fly off to infect the healthy trees in your yard. If you cut down infected oaks, cover the wood with clear plastic for one year. This will ensure that the fungus is killed by the summer heat.

Once the wood has dried out to the point where the bark is falling off and the wood is cracked, then the fungus that causes oak wilt is no longer alive. Burning infected wood immediately does not pose a threat, as the fungus is destroyed by heat. 

Presently, no insects have been proven to transmit the fungus from live oaks to other oak trees, but diseased wood from any oak species should never be stored near healthy oak trees unless the above precautions are taken. When purchasing firewood, be certain that the wood is well-seasoned.

When is the best time to plant pecan trees?

Now is the time to plant pecan trees, fruit trees, grapes, and berries. For the best success, we recommend that you choose varieties that are adapted to our area. For a complete list, contact our office.

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