The only thing you can really control is your pruning - if you prune, when you prune, and whether you paint the wounds immediately. Sap beetles live perhaps one year and are attracted to sap from all trees. The oak wilt spore will not germinate if it lands on a cedar elm or a cedar tree. The spore will germinate only on an oak.
What about wounds on oaks caused by wind damage, livestock or wildlife?
The Forest Service has flown over almost every quad map in Central Texas looking for oak wilt centers. These coordinates are being plotted by computer. There is a direct correlation between the incidence of oak wilt and human activity. You find oak wilt around houses and on highways, utility corridors, fencelines etc.. When you get out in the middle of nowhere, you do not find oak wilt. People cause oak wilt. We get the brand new chain saw - we’ve got to use it. People think, “It’s Springtime. I’ve got to prune the trees.” People are out there constantly messing with the trees, cedar clearing, especially with bulldozers smacking trees up all over the place, and new oak wilt centers are started up. We get a developer who buys a huge piece of property, they start cutting in roads and pushing and piling, and new oak wilt centers are started up. They cut a new road through an area and cut trees without painting the oaks and oak wilt starts up.
Q: What does the Forest Service do to get the County and Central Texas Electric to paint wounds on oaks?
A: The Forest Service does the best it can. The Forest Service gives pruning presentations and oak wilt talks to different local, county and state government agencies, to different companies and electric and telephone utilities. The information is out there.