Oak Wilt and Other Tree Diseases

Oak Wilt

As most of our Members in Highlands Ranch already know, but some of our newer Members who are not native Texans might not know, the Oak Wilt disease (a fungus) for oak trees is very dangerous and very prevalent.  Therefore, each of us must keep a watchful eye for its presence anywhere in our neighborhood (especially on our own property) and anywhere on properties adjacent to our properties (including those in neighboring subdivisions), and then inform the HOA Board if we suspect its presence anywhere in our area or even approaching from other communities.  REMEMBER, if we fail to control Oak Wilt in our community, it will eventually devalue everyone’s property.  For example, we already know that Country Bend on our west perimeter and Windwood Estates on part of our north perimeter have Oak Wilt.  Some of this has been treated and some has not.  Therefore, it will continue to spread toward our community.  Also, we know of at least five lots within our community that have had Oak Wilt.  On one internal Lot, the trees were infected with oak wilt either by tree trimmers with unclean tools or by beetles/woodpickers transferring it from one tree to others.  Now, oak wilt exists on three lots adjacent to the first. On the other perimeter Lot, the Oak Wilt crossed over from Country Bend through the trees’ root systems, apparently prior to the trench that we had dug in 2017 along the rear lot line for five lots on Ranch Creek.  The trees on four Lots were treated with the BioGreen formula (see following discussion). Also, at least four of the five lots have some of the trees treated with the traditional fungicide injections (see below).

Oak Wilt is a problem that each of us MUST take seriously.  If oak wilt spreads very much into our community, the values of all of our properties could be negatively affected.  This should get the attention of all of us!  Therefore, please pay attention to any trees that might appear to be infected.  To help you do this, read this brochure provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service or visit their website that gives more detail about the disease and what steps can be taken to avoid it and treat it once you have it. Three of the important cautions in their brochure are: (1) have cutting tools disinfected first before trimming trees; (2) have “every” cut sealed immediately; and (3) avoid trimming trees from February through June.  Another quick reference source can be found herePlease do not ignore this!

Two traditional treatments include (1) injection of fungicide into the base of the individual trees that are infected and (2) trenching around the infected trees to keep it from spreading to other trees through the root system.  For injections, this treatment must be done in a series of three, done about two years apart.  The service provider will charge for each series of injections.  Neither of these treatments have a guarantee. For trenching to possibly work, the trench must be at least 100 feet from the nearest infected trees, which for most of us will not be an option, as most lots are too close for this option.  This is why it is so important that we become aware of diseased trees before it gets within 100 feet of our properties—or our community perimeters.

A third treatment that has had some success is the application of a proprietary formula of archaea microbes that is absorbed into the tree roots to remove the source of food for the Oak Wilt fungus.  This treatment can be obtained from BioGreen Tree Care. For more information on this treatment, visit their website. Photos of leaves showing Oak Wilt and more can be seen on the BioGreen website.

A fourth supplemental treatment that has had some success in keeping your trees healthy and possibly helping to prevent Oak Wilt is to regularly apply dried molasses and ground corn meal with gluten (“sick tree treatment”) around the base of your trees.

Also, please remember that no type of existing treatment is 100% guaranteed to stop all of the Oak Wilt.

Hypoxylon Canker Fungus

Hypoxylon Canker fungus is just as deadly as Oak Wilt and can affect any type of oak tree.  This disease appears as dead lesions on limbs and trunks of infected trees.  It develops just under the bark and in advance stages causes a white rot decay of the sapwood, with the outer bark falling off to expose the fungus.  This decay kills the tree and it then becomes a hazard.

Once this fungus is evident, it is usually to late to try to save the tree, as large portions will already be dead.  You should consider removing the tree, especially if they are in locations where they can become a serious hazard.  This fungus does currently exist on some trees in Highlands Ranch, although we don’t know the extent of it.

Causes of this fungus can include the following, which puts stress on the tree:

  • Its spores can spread from tree to tree.
  • Construction damage to the tree.
  • Climatic conditions such as drought, flooding, hail damage, heat, ice storms and lightning

For more information, including photos, read the article from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

Extreme Fire Danger

As most of you know, our drought sometimes results in dangerous and destructive wildfires in much of Texas.  We are vulnerable!  Please be particularly cautious and follow these tips:

  • Do not burn brush or trash during burn bans.  Under certain conditions, you can be prosecuted for arson if you spark a wildfire.
  • Prevent ignition sources from coming into contact with dry grass, brush or even dry mulch.
    If you smoke, do not through cigarette/cigar butts on the ground.
  • Do not park or allow cars to idle in dry grassy areas.
  • Be extra cautious of lawn-mowers and other hot equipment – make sure your equipment is in good conditions, be careful not to spill fuel and never leave running equipment unattended.
  • Make sure that barbeque pits are far away from dry grass, trees, brush or any other fuel.  Keep your grill or barbeque pit clean and in good condition.  Watch out for flying embers or pieces of coal that could escape from your pit or grill.
  • Be watchful of contractors on your property who may not follow these precautions.  Don’t let them park on dry grassy areas and be particularly watchful if they smoke.
  • Call 911 immediately if you see smoke or fire in our neighborhood that appears to be unsafe.

Keeping Animals on your Property

See Article III, Section 13, of our DCCR which sets forth the permitted maintenance of animals on your property.  Also, you can read the City of San Antonio Code of Ordinances related to animals referred to in the DCCR above by clicking here.

Recycling Info

If you need a larger recycling container than the provided 13 gallon plastic crate, Tiger Sanitation will now swap it out for a 96 gallon trash can with a green lid, that designates this is for recycling only. Call Tiger Sanitation, 210-333-4287, and request. Thanks for your recycling efforts!

Source of our Water

The Trinity Aquifer extends in a band through the central part of the State from the Red River to the eastern edge of Bandera and Medina counties.  The Trinity-Edwards Plateau Aquifer covers all or part of over 20 counties from Gillespie to the trans-Pecos region of west Texas.  Together, they are the primary water source for  most of the Hill Country.  Most users in northern Bexar, Bandera, Kendall, Comal, and Kerr counties get their water from the Trinity.

All of Bandera, most of Kerr and Kendall, and large parts of Comal and Bexar counties serve as drainage or catchment area for the Edwards Aquifer.  So even though most people in the Hill Country use a different aquifer, they have a responsibility to help preserve and protect the Edwards Aquifer, which is the most prolific fresh water aquifer in our region.  Because of the way the Edwards recharges, it is particularly susceptible to drought, overuse and pollution.

The Trinity Aquifer lies just below the Edwards and is made up of several smaller water-bearing formations, including the Glen Rose Limestone and the Travis Peak Formation.  Our wells are completely in the Cow Creek Limestone, a part of the Travis Peak Formation.  Although our water comes from the Cow Creek, Highland Ranch lies within the jurisdiction of Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District (GCD), not the Cow Creek GCD.  Central Texas is under severe drought conditions.

All of us should do our part to help conserve water—one of our most precious and valuable resources.  Learn more about the Trinity Glen Rose Aquifer and simple steps that you can take to help conserve water at the GCD website: .

Upcoming Events

The monthly board meetings are normally held on the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at Mi Casa Tamale, 25960 Frontage Rd., IH-10 West, Boerne, TX 78006. These are open to all homeowners. Please check with a Board Member before attending in case of any schedule changes. HOA board meeting agenda and minutes are available on the Meetings Information page.

Book Club

Our Book Club meets the 1st Thursday of each month on a date provided to members by email. If you would like to have information regarding this please contact Jo Ann Browne at 210-316-5455. All members are welcome, whether you’ve read the book or not.

Halloween Hay Ride & Block Party

Announced each year by email.

Christmas Party

Announced each year by email.

HOA Directory

Password required

Read Voices Newsletter

Password required