Oak wilt, one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States, is killing oak trees in central Texas at epidemic proportions. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Bretziella fagacearum, which invades and disables the water-conducting system (xylem) in oaks. All oaks can be infected by the fungus that causes oak wilt; however, some oak species are affected more than others. The successful management of oak wilt depends on correct diagnosis and an understanding of how the pathogen and different oak species interact.
Members of the white oak group include post oak, bur oak, Mexican white oak, white shin oak, Durand oak, Lacey oak, and chinquapin oak. Although white oaks show some tolerance of the disease, all oaks can be infected by the fungus. White shin oak, Lacey oak, and chinquapin oak can grow in stands with interconnected root systems, enabling the fungus to possibly infect adjacent trees. are susceptible to the fungus.