Reminder! Effective February 1st Oak Tree Trimming Prohibited Until July 1st
By Sally McFeron, Development Services Director
To prevent the devastating spread of Oak Wilt, The City’s Development Services Department would like to remind everyone that effective February 1st, pruning of any type of oak tree is prohibited until July 1st, per Chapter 8, Article 8.09 Tree Trimming Protection. The entire ordinance may be found on our Department website under the City website at www.horseshoe-bay-tx.gov, and go to Development Services.
Oak Wilt is induced by a fungus called Ceratocystis fagacearum, which causes the water-conducting system of the oak tree to become blocked, resulting in the tree wilting and losing its foliage. A tell-tale sign of Oak Wilt in live oaks are yellow leaf veins that turn brown, followed by rapid defoliation in some cases. In red oaks, new foliage typically wilts in early spring. Being transmitted through the roots to surrounding trees, Oak Wilt may continue to spread until an entire neighborhood is overcome with the disease. Oaks that are infected usually die within a few weeks or months.
Keep in mind, prevention is easier than cure. To reduce the chances of Oak Wilt spreading, there are some key best practices you can put into effect and which are required by the Tree Trimming Protection Ordinance. The first is to refrain from trimming oak trees during the spring months of February through June, when fungal spore formation and beetle activity are highest. Oak trees can be pruned or cut during the months of July through January. Immediately after pruning (July through January), or upon finding damage (anytime of the year) from windstorms or other events, ensure that all wounds are painted with a neutral color spray paint (preferably grey or brown), regardless of the season. Equipment that is used for trimming should be sterilized right away to prevent potential cross-contamination.
The City adopted this Ordinance so that property owners can hopefully avoid the cost and varying success rate of the most common treatment for Oak Wilt - the trenching method, which aims to physically stop the spread of the disease through the roots - by preventing it in the first place. Severing the roots of the infected tree by trenching a minimum of four feet deep stops the infection of surrounding trees. Removal of the diseased tree after trenching is the next step. Unfortunately, trenching is costly and has the potential to negatively interfere with infrastructure in the area.
Being aware of Oak Wilt and taking steps to control its spread will allow us to be better stewards of Horseshoe Bay’s attractive natural resources and landscape. Be sure to remember these tips and share them with your friends and neighbors. Let's keep our beautiful oaks healthy!
Please help us protect the City’s oak tree population from this devastating disease. You can report violations to the Development Service Office at 830-598-9959. Don't forget that you can find helpful information on the City's website including the Tree Trimming Ordinance, Oak Wilt Identification, How it is Spread, and Management of the Disease.
Thank you for helping keep Horseshoe Bay beautiful!