Oak trees are a staple in the American imagination. While the term oak actually encapsulates a broad category of over 400 species, they all grow and shed their trademark acorns.
In and around Texas, some oak species function better as landscaping features than others. While live oaks (evergreen as opposed to leaf-shedding) are impressive, they don’t allow other plants to flourish beneath them. Bur oaks, on the other hand, are more hospitable to nearby life, are fast-growing, and produce few acorns. And Shumard red oaks thrive even in polluted areas while giving you an impressive show of red and purple come fall.
Across oak species, there are several applicable tips for maintaining oak tree health. Read on to learn how to undertake pruning, irrigation, and disease prevention.
First, prune annually—more specifically, we mean hire pruning professionals to do the job for you. They know what cuts to make to spur the tree on to future health whereas you likely would approach the task blindly.
While oaks are attractive landscape trees precisely because they don’t require much pruning, it is still important, especially early on. Saplings that undergo pruning when dormant (during winter) will then experience greater branch development during the spring and summer. For mature oaks, pros will cut away dead or diseased branches to remove dead weight or eradicate a threat. Sid Mourning Tree Services offers simple and knowledge-driven tree pruning in Austin, Texas, for those in the area.
Promote Good Irrigation
Another tip for maintaining oak tree health is to ensure proper water access and drainage. During the early stages of growth, occasionally watering up to three feet beyond the trunk gives your sapling a strong start. Combine plenty of water with mulch to hold moisture in the soil and protect it from evaporation.
While water is obviously important, it can become a hotbed for fungi and pests if it pools for a while. Observe your tree for a day or two after rainfall. If water remains around the base, consider building a berm or otherwise rerouting water away from your oak.
What To Watch For
To help you guard your oak against disease, here are two hallmarks to watch for. If you see anything, contact an arborist immediately to schedule an assessment.
Oak wilt is a common oak tree scourge. Though its signs are subtle, watch for veinal necrosis—this is when leaf veins turn yellow and then brown as they decay. Also, you may notice a strong odor coupled with abundant insects and hollow points beyond the bark.
Mushrooms on Bark
A bit easier to notice, mushroom shelves often mean trouble as well. These are an outward sign of an inward infection. Proper professional pruning prevents all manner of fungi from invading through a weak point, including oak wilt.