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Oak Wilt in Texas


Carrie Burns, City of Lakeway. Kim Camilli, TFS. Jay Culver, City of Austin ... adopted as newest city partner and oak wilt forester hired by city (Carrie Burns) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Oak Wilt in Texas

Oak Wilt in Texas
and the
Texas Oak Wilt Suppression Project
Oak Wilt
Veinal necrosis on live oak
  • Caused by the fungal pathogen Ceratocystis
  • This native pathogen affects oaks in some 20
    eastern and mid-western states (worst outbreak
    is in Texas).
  • Fungal spores vectored by insects, primarily
    nitidulid beetles.
  • Red oaks and live oaks are most susceptible.
  • Veinal necrosis is a diagnostic symptom on live
    oak leaves.

Oak Wilt in Texas
  • First identified in Texas in Dallas in 1961.
  • Live oaks and red (Spanish) oaks are most
    severely affected.
  • Only red oaks produce fungal mats.
  • Most tree losses occur from pathogen spread
    through connected root systems (common in
    live oaks).

Fungal mat on red oak
Distribution of Oak Wilt in Texas
  • 55 counties in Central Texas
  • 6 counties in West Texas

Fort Worth
College Station
San Antonio
Counties in Texas with oak wilt cover an area
larger than VT, NH, MA, CT, NJ, RI and MD
Impact of Oak Wilt in Texas
Rural Areas
Thousands of acres of live oaks have become
victims of oak wilt in rural areas of Central
Impact of Oak Wilt in Texas
Rural Residential Areas
Loss of live oaks to oak wilt has greater
economic impact around ranch houses.
Impact of Oak Wilt in Texas
Suburban Areas (1-10 acres)
The many new ranchettes (lt10 ac) in Central
Texas have increased incidence and impact of oak
Impact of Oak Wilt in Texas
Urban Areas (lt 1 acre)
Oak wilt may reduce urban property values by
Texas Oak Wilt Suppression Project
1988 - 2001
  • USDA Forest Service/ Forest Health Protection
  • Texas Forest Service
  • Cities, neighborhoods, private landowners
  • Texas Cooperative Extension
  • Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Lower Colorado River Authority

TFS Oak Wilt Staff
  • Project director (10) support staff
  • Administrative coordinator (30) support
  • Oak wilt technical coordinator (100)
  • Oak wilt field coordinator (35)
  • 6 staff foresters (45 - 80)
  • 5 urban foresters (10 - 15) percent of
    time devoted to Oak Wilt Project

Oak Wilt Technical Advisory Board
  • Dr. Dave Appel, TAMU
  • Dr. Brad Barber, TFS
  • Dr. Ron Billings, TFS
  • Carrie Burns, City of Lakeway
  • Kim Camilli, TFS
  • Jay Culver, City of Austin
  • Eugene Gehring, Arborist
  • Jordy Hagen, Bartlett Tree Services
  • Emsud Horosovic, City of Round Rock
  • Billy Kniffen, Hays County Extension
  • Jon Long, Oak Wilt Specialists of Texas
  • Dr. Forrest Oliveria, USDA Forest Service
  • Curt Randa, City of Cedar Park
  • Dale Starkey, USDA Forest Service
  • Damon Waitt, Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Dr. Dan Wilson, USDA Forest Service
  • New Members in 2001

Project Objectives
  • Public awareness
  • Detection and evaluation
  • Technical assistance to landowners
  • Cost shares for oak wilt control
  • Special projects
  • Implement long-range management of oak wilt

Increase Public Awareness of Oak Wilt
Public Awareness
  • Circulars and publications
  • Internet web pages, public fairs
  • Training sessions, tours and demonstrations
  • Responding to phone calls, e-mail inquiries
  • News articles, videos, posters, displays, etc.
  • One-on-one site visits

Oak Wilt Training in Boerne August 17, 2001
150 Participants
Oak Wilt Hot Line
For answers to most often asked questions
Call 512 - 473 - 3517
Courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority
Cost Share Procedures
  • Initial contact
  • Field inspection
  • Cultural resource survey
  • Treatment plan
  • Landowner agreement
  • Treatment installation
  • Completion report
  • Reimbursement (50)
  • Post-suppression evaluation

Barrier Treatments
  • Trenching (at least 4 feet deep) to halt oak
    wilt spread through connected root systems
  • Roguing (removal of diseased trees within
    trenched area)

Most Common Trenching Equipment in Texas
Ripper Bar
Back Hoe
Rock Saw
52-Inch Rock Saw Used in Recent Years
Trenching Accomplishments 1988 - 2001
  • To date, the Project has installed a total of
    2,655,900 feet (503 miles) of trenches in 35
    counties since 1988 to halt the spread of 1,903
    oak wilt centers.
  • Equivalent to a trench extending from Houston
    to Lubbock.
  • Of this total, ca. 8 have been installed in
    urban sites, 14 in suburban sites, 35 in rural
    residential sites, and 43 in rural
    non-residential sites.
  • Two of every 3 trenches have held without

Cost/foot and number of trenches vary with land
use category
  • Rural Non-residential More than 10 acre ranch
    without a residence in vicinity of trench
  • Rural Residential Home site on ranch of
    more than 10 acres
  • Suburban 1-10 acre home sites in transition
    area between rural and urban areas
  • Urban Urban residential setting (lt 1 acre)

Percent of Total Trenches by Land Use
U Urban S Suburban R. R. Rural
Residential R. N. Rural Non-residential
Cost of Oak Wilt Trenching by Land Use
Total Cost/Foot
U Urban S Suburban R. R. Rural
Residential R. N. Rural Non-residential
What are Economic Benefits of 500 miles of
  • The 500 miles of trenches effectively protect a
    total of 15,000 acres from oak wilt spread over
    5 years.
  • These 15,000 acres include 20,000 urban trees,
    valued at 70 million, 150,000 suburban trees
    (47 million), 110,000 trees (78 million) on
    rural residential sites, and 210,000 trees (5
    million) on rural non-residential sites.
  • The total value saved is ca. 200 million for an
    investment of 10 million.

Prevention of Oak Wilt
  • Avoid pruning between January and June
  • Paint wounds and pruning cuts
  • Remove and dispose of diseased trees
  • Treat threatened oaks with fungicide Alamo
  • Proper management of oak firewood
  • Plant resistant trees, diversify landscapes

Other Special Projects
  • Aerial sketch mapping and ground verification
    of oak wilt centers
  • Development of computerized data management
  • Economic analysis of Project activities
  • Partnerships with cities of Austin and Lakeway
  • National Oak Wilt Symposium
    North American Forest Insect
    Work Conference

Aerial Detection Surveys
  • Sketch map surveys conducted over 13 million
    acres (319 USGS quadrangles or 19 counties).
  • Total of 8,002 mortality centers detected on 13
    million acres of 5,714 centers (71) ground
    checked to date, 4,989 (87) are oak wilt.
  • An estimated 6,962 oak wilt centers occur on
    the 13 million acres of land surveyed to date.
  • Assuming 20 of land in oaks, this represents
    2.7 oak wilt centers/1000 acres of host type.

Economic Analysis
FY 1990 - 1996
Objective To determine the economic efficiency
of the Texas Oak Wilt Suppression Project.
Benefits Infected tree removal and tree
replanting costs avoided by cooperators due to
Project- installed trenches to halt oak wilt
spread for 5 years (although many additional
benefits are involved).
Costs Total Project costs, including cost
shares and administrative costs (5,491,468 for
FY 1990-1996).
Results of Benefit Cost Analysis
Urban 6 1 Suburban 14 1 Rural
Residential 8 1 Rural Non-residential
4 1
Project Accomplishments
  • Network of TFS foresters established throughout
    Central Texas to provide technical assistance.
  • Aerial detection surveys conducted over 13
    million acres (ca. 19 counties) ca.
    8,000 oak wilt centers detected and 5,000
    confirmed on ground to date.
  • Public awareness of oak wilt greatly increased
    and 1.6 million of cost shares distributed
    in 35 counties.
  • More than 2.6 million feet (503 miles) of
    trenches installed to control 1,900 oak wilt
  • Several thousand infected red oaks removed and
    live oaks injected with fungicide.

Highlights in FY 2000-2001
  • Oak wilt technical coordinator position filled
    (Kim Camilli) 10 new members added to Technical
    Advisory Board.
  • New office opened in Johnson City (Robert
    Edmonson) Lampasas position filled (Jay
  • City of Lakeway adopted as newest city partner
    and oak wilt forester hired by city (Carrie
  • Oak wilt how to brochure translated into
  • Computerized Operations Information System
  • Office facilities in Austin expanded to better
    serve public.

The Texas Oak Wilt Program is integrated with
other federal programs.
Coordination with other Programs
Oak Wilt Program
Stewardship Program
Urban Forestry Program
Fire Prevention Program
What is the Impact of the Suppression Project on
a Landscape Scale?
  • Assume 8,000 - 10,000 oak wilt centers in Texas
  • Only 150 - 200 centers controlled per year with
    Project assistance
  • New centers develop each year as Texas
    population expands
  • Without additional federal and state support,
    the Project is unlikely to substantially reduce
    the incidence of oak wilt on a landscape scale.

Does this mean that suppression efforts are
Oak wilt in Texas
Suppression Project
Are Suppression Efforts Futile?
Definitely Not !
Oak wilt is analogous to auto accidents
  • Both will increase as the human population in
    Central Texas increases.
  • Frequency and severity can be reduced through
    public education ( defensive driving class).
  • With oak wilt, trenching reduces potential
    losses, as do seat belts and air bags in autos.
  • Prevention is preferred and most effective

Long-range Strategic Plan
  • Apply integrated approach to pest management
  • Identify priority areas for education,
    prevention suppression
  • Empower communities to address oak wilt
  • Increase state funding technical assistance
  • Seek federal funds from federal Cooperative
    Forest Health Program
  • Plant resistant trees diversify landscapes

When it comes to oak wilt, Texans are learning to
Make the best of a bad situation
Thank you for your attention!
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