Post Oaks. It’s a wonder these poor plants persist given all of the pernicious pests that pummel and plague them. When I made my past Post Oak post, prize reader and occasional pontificator Kim pondered and posed whether the pleasing trees had any pests. Pablo paused portentiously. Possibly and probably, he ponderously postulated. And so Pablo pursued this plethora of pesky pestilence.
Post Oaks, it seems, are victims of a three-pronged attack that most other oaks suffer from: insects, diseases, and pollution.
The insects can assault the leaves, the acorns, and even the wood. Among the list of insects that aren’t friendly to Post Oaks are weevils, leafrollers, tent caterpillars, Gypsy moths, sawflies, leaf miners, aphids, lace bugs, gall wasps, mites, and a particularly scary-sounding one called a skeletonizer. Twigs, trunk, and root are the specialty of carpenter worms, borers, beetles, twig pruners, white grubs, and cicadas. But the horrors don’t end there.
Various fungi like to set up housekeeping in Post Oak trees. Curiously, one of the biggest threats to Post Oak is Chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica), but then, chestnust are sort of honorary oaks anyway. Oak wilt is another threat, though that bedevils the Red Oaks more, and various powdery mildews will harm younger trees. There are also fungi that live in the ground and go after the oak’s roots.
Another odd little assaulter of Post Oaks is mistletoe, which is a type of parasite that grows on other plants and sucks nutrients and water from them. Mistletoe rarely kills a tree outright, but it can kill individual branches and cause deformities. I’ve never seen mistletoe at Roundrock, and I’m not likely to. It tends to prefer lowland trees (and Roundrock is ridgetop land), and it isn’t reported to venture as far north into Missouri as my woods.
I hope that Roundrock is remote enuf from pollution sources like cities to spare my trees from this insult. Pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, flouride, and ammonia have been fingered as possible oak killers. Fortunately,
dihydrous dihydrogen monoxide is not dangerous to Post Oaks because they are exposed to this compound frequently.
- Watch for northern water snakes basking near water.