In 2016, I had a consultation in Hunt, Texas with lacey oaks dying in a backyard. I suspected oak wilt but my tree management Kerrville partner, Jim Rediker, from his hospital bed argued with me on the subject. Jim told me you will never find oak wilt in Lacey, Monterrey, Post, etc. 


He, like Texas A&M, believed that these oaks were not “as susceptible” to this deadly disease. When Jim passed the following year, we had confirmation from the labs. We had oak wilt positive Lacey Oaks off of Upper Turtle Creek in Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas. 


A few months later we found another case positive from the lab. This site is off Spur 100 and Hwy 27. In both of these cases of oak wilt, the lacey oaks also had a positive phytophthora root rot problem. We sent off root samples to get confirmation. The interesting twist is that both sites had done cedar clearing around these oak trees. The cedars that were removed from around the oak trees were helping absorb that rain prior to clearing. The trees had been in a drought state for several years by the time the 2016 rains came. 


Most property owners love to clear cedar, which is fine to do in stages. The trees surrounding the oaks were removed, heavy rains came, then root rot set in. Upper Turtle Creek seemed to have the swiftest movement of the root rot. These trees were injected and have been monitored for the last three years. 


Oak wilt spread is enhanced by rain with the root graft, but two diseases attacking one tree makes it difficult for the tree to recover. Some have recovered, but there are several that were removed.