How a soggy spring impacted the decline of Post Oak trees

Nick Natario Image
Friday, August 9, 2019
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ABC13's Nick Natario looked at what's caused the decline

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KTRK) -- It's not Fall, but some Texans' trees are already starting to look like Fall trees.

This summer, a number of Post Oak leaves are changing to brown and yellow colors.

But that's not just wishful thinking that cooler weather is here. It's a serious sign that many southeast Texas Post Oak trees are dying.

"Harris County, Burleson County, Brazos County, anywhere where the Post Oak is native, yes, we're getting inquiries from them," said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Diagnostician Sheila McBride.

Inside the Texas plant disease diagnostic laboratory, employees use microscopes to confirm the issue. In many cases, they don't need to get that close.

"It just breaks off. It's no longer even living at all," McBride said.

McBride said the leaves should be white and firm, but that isn't the case.

Because of a soggy spring, McBride said that has caused many of these trees to die.

"A lot of these trees were sitting in water, and Post Oaks don't like to have their roots wet at all," McBride said.

To protect your trees, you can improve drainage or drill holes around the tree and fill them with nutrients or pea gravel.

You can also look for changing leaf colors, brown patches and fungus attached to the trunks.

If it's just showing symptoms, McBride says you won't know until next spring if it's dead. If it doesn't bud, it's most likely gone.

"People love their trees, so it is concerning to those people who find their trees to be precious," McBride said.

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