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Old 07-27-2011, 07:11 AM
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,601 posts, read 2,715,526 times
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Does anyone have a recommendation for an arborist who specializes in diseased or drought-stressed trees? We have a 2.5 year old red oak that was looking great until just recently, when the leaves have begun to turn brown on the edges and it just doesn't look as though it is thriving. I want an expert to tell me if it is diseased or drought-stressed, and how we need to treat in order to keep it alive. I LOVE my tree and I don't want to lose it, so I need to act fast! Thanks!
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:11 PM
Location: Austin, TX
9,078 posts, read 17,866,498 times
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Perhaps try Don Gardner, (512) 263-2586. You can also call the Natural Gardener for info (you can ask them about the tree) and arborist recommendations.

Have you been deep-watering the tree? You need to have a soaker hose along the drip line and run it for like 8 hours at a time. If you don't have a soaker hose, just put the end of a hose along the tree drip line and run the water on low for a few hours. You don't have to worry about watering too much; these trees are expecting a flood by now, and can handle it. About the only thing you need to worry about will be your water bill, but keeping new landscaping alive is expensive.

I'd say almost certainly that your tree is drought stressed. Sometimes Red Oaks will lose leaves or turn early in the extreme drought we are experiencing; then they will come back in the spring. But either way you need to water to keep them alive, especially when small and not established, and the normal sprinkler system for the grass won't do it.

Good luck. At least if the tree does die, replacing a red oak is cheap -- although I'd strongly recommend considering an oak-wilt resistant tree instead.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:13 PM
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,601 posts, read 2,715,526 times
Reputation: 1172
Thanks for the response, atxcio! In the interim after posting this, I got a referral to Green Tree and Shrub Care. The certified arborist, Jeff Heater, went out and treated the tree for anthracnose, a fungus, with some spray and by drilling a hole in the trunk and inserting a treatment capsule. He also said it could be leaf scorch (a bacteria, I think).

Ironically, he turned OFF my bubbler that is attached to my sprinkler system and told me to let it dry out significantly. He told me to not water nearly as much as we have been (which isn't much - twice weekly for 15 minutes each, then we put a hose on it every other night for about 30 minutes) and to use a moisture meter to determine how wet it is. Jeff said that with us being on solid rock, they created a bowl with the jackhammering in the rock to plant the tree and it retains water very well. He said in this setting, after about a year of being in the ground, the tree really doesn't need the bubbler or extra watering like people think.

So we'll see how it turns out. I just hope it isn't oak WILT because then I'll be replacing the tree. (And we didn't choose it - installed by the builder - although I have really enjoyed it over live oaks, especially in the fall!)
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