If high summer temperatures and lingering drought weren’t enough to humiliate landscapes add in the Oak Wilt disease and homeowners are finally ready to sell out and move into an apartment!
This has been a terribly hot, dry summer for lawns, trees and shrubs. Homeowners have had some of the largest water bills in history but heat and drought are not the cause of death for thousands of Live and Red Oak trees in Williamson County. We can blame the disease Ceratocystis fagacearum commonly known as Oak Wilt with steadily marching across the county landscape killing oak trees that are hundreds of years old. It is not at all unusual for homeowners to notice a few limbs with brown leaves one week and then within two to three weeks have a beautiful red oak turn completely brown and be dead. For live oaks the process is slower with trees looking thin and loosing leaves over a complete year before dying. Since both red oaks and live oaks are the predominate tree species in western Williamson County, dominating the beautiful Hill Country landscapes, it is no wonder landowners as well as homeowners are concerned both for the loss of trees and the loss of property values.
To help landowners better understand Oak Wilt and know their treatment options the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Williamson County and the Texas Forest Service have teamed up to offer a “Tree Health and the Oak Wilt Fungus.” This program will address some of the issues concerning tree health including fertility and water management as well as look at the oak wilt disease and treatment options. The program “Tree Health and the Oak Wilt Fungus,” will be offered on two different dates to allow landowners two opportunities to attend. The first program will be offered on Tuesday, September 16, at 10:00 a.m. at the Williamson County Training Room, 3151 SE Inner Loop, in Georgetown. The second program will be offered on Tuesday, October 7, at 7:00 p.m. at the Williamson County Training Room.
Speakers for the program will include Rob Grotty, Staff Forester with the Texas Forest Service and Bob Whitney, County Extension Agent-Agriculture with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Williamson County.
For more information about the program, “Tree Health and the Oak Wilt Fungus,” trees in general or the oak wilt disease you can contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Williamson County at 512/943-3300 or visit the website at williamson-tx.tamu.edu.
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- Bob Whitney
- As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.