Oak wilt disease is caused by the fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum, which invades and clogs the tree’s water-conducting system. The disease has killed more than 1 million trees in Central Texas and shows no signs of slowing down.

The disease spreads from tree to tree through natural root grafts and from neighborhood to neighborhood by beetles that feed on infected red oaks.  People make matters worse by transporting infected red oak firewood to other communities, pruning at the wrong time of year and by leaving fresh pruning wounds unpainted.

Treatments in urban areas can be expensive and involve trenching, tree removal, and fungicide injections.  Technical training is available for arborists and Master Gardeners through regular trainings and regional workshops.