Karen Rockoff has diagnosed the Oak Wilt fungus, Bretziella fagacearum, starting in 2017 on the first Post Oak in Medina, Texas. It was also the first Post Oak to be tested by the Texas A&M lab extension in College Station, Texas. I have positive labs back on several mystery Oaks (per TPDDL) that are White Oaks (Quercus alba), 2018 Monterrey Oak (Quercus polymorpha), Lacey Oak (Quercus glaucoides), 2019 Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), 2019 Post Oak (Quercus stellate), 2019 Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa), Red Oak (Quercus buckleyi), Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), (Quercus fusiformis) Shin Oak (Quercus sinuate var. breviloba). I had been taught that we would never see it on these cultivars in Texas; I have found so many samples that I had to build my own lab to plate samples in house. These collected are growing fungi out within 2-3 days. All of our first samples are confirmed by the TPDDL & RAL lab in Dallas, Texas.
Not just once or twice but several times, at different properties all over Kerr County, Medina County, and Gillespie County. The areas we are finding these include River Hills, Comanche Trace, The Woods, Hunt, Ingram, and many private ranches in Kerr County. The samples we have pulled off many Monterrey Oak trees are coming from one landscape company/nursery that installed them. Not only do they have Oak Wilt, but they are also all planted way below grade. That is why I am being called to so many sites, the trees look bad. As we air spade to FIND the flare roots, we evaluate the health, & pull samples. These trees are testing positive in the field tests that we take & in the labs that we culture.
I am hoping that we will get more research for our area to help everyone deal with this problem in an economic way. I have been telling clients for three years that I would find a “cure”. Step 1 is identifying the problem, which I did. Part of the solution is determining how large the problem is and what can be done about it. This is why I have committed all of our resources to this for Texas A&M so MAYBE they can get “excited” to save trees again. I was told there is NO money for research. There is money for everything if they wanted to follow my path in my identifying & diagnosing! I WANT A SOLUTION for our state & our clients. We are losing millions of trees annually to this disease!
Tree Companies, landscapers, your lawn guys are spreading this disease! Stop to think before you cut your Oaks. Are these people Certified, Oak Wilt Qualified, Insured, or not understanding this disease is killing our Oaks? Dirty equipment spreads this fungus. Not cleaning in between trees can spread this disease, not painting the wounds on trees could be spreading this, moving firewood can spread this! Get educated, GET ACTIVE- PLANT MORE TREES. Encourage our county & city officials to help us!
Call Karen 830-955-0304 for a FREE Oak Wilt inspection in Kerr County the entire month of September 2019.