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Italian Cypress Decline Spring 2017
Posted on Apr 20th, 2017
April 5, 2017
Italian Cypress Decline in North Texas Introduction
Italian Cypresses are declining rapidly throughout DFW this spring. There are several factors and multiple pathogens at play. Italian Cypresses thrive when planted in dry sunny locations with well drained soils and full exposure. Most of DFW has a clay type soil, which is not well drained. Because of the soil type in North Texas, Italian Cypress trees should be planted 4-6 inches above grade to improve drainage. All too often these trees are planted too deep with their root flares buried beneath the soil. This alone will cause decline as the trees get older. A planting site with full sun and wind exposure is also important. Frequently Italian Cypresses are planted near pools, buildings or fences. In their native range, Italian Cypresses receive roughly 20” of rainfall annually. 2015 and 2016 were both very wet years in DFW; receiving 62” and 35” of rainfall respectively. Additionally the trees may have incurred freeze injury this past winter when the temperatures dropped suddenly. Italian Cypresses are prone to phytophthora root rot, stem cankers (Botryodiplodia & Seiridium), leaf diseases (Phyllosticta), and spider mites. Phytophthora is especially a problem in poorly drained soils with an overabundance of water. Phytophthora infections cause a slow decline of the trees and are difficult to detect. The visible brown patches and dead limbs seen in the trees are caused by leaf disease and stem cankers.
Depending on the severity of decline symptoms, larger Italian Cypresses may be candidates for treatment. It is not recommended to treat anything with a trunk less than 5” in diameter. Trees with fewer symptoms have the greatest chance of survival and recovery. A trunk injection of Phospho-jet will suppress the phytophthora and stimulate a tree health response. This should be coupled with a soil drench of Subdue MAXX fungicide, also targeting phytophthora. The stem cankers and phyllosticta leaf spot are secondary pathogens and will subside as tree health improves. If the leaf spot disease and/or spider mites are present, spraying with Propizol (14.3% propiconazole) and a miticide (Eco-mite+) will help. The homeowner will need to reduce or eliminate irrigation around the trees. The expectation of a successful treatment is that the symptoms will not get worse; any new growth is a sign of improvement. Disease symptoms should naturally subside as the season changes and temperatures rise. The dead areas on the trees will not re-leaf and should be pruned out. It may take 3-4 years and multiple applications for the trees to recover. To summarize, Italian Cypresses are intolerant of the soil types in North Texas and the heavy rainfall experienced in 2015/2016 led to fungal infections. Treatments can help, but they do not address the real problems which are: poorly drained soils, improper planting practices, bad planting sites and too much shade. (photos on page 2)
Emmett Muennink | South Central Regional Technical Manager Arborjet, Inc. | 214-799-6115|
April 5, 2017
Declining Italian Cypress Botryodiplodia Stem Canker
Phyllosticta Leaf Spot & Shaded Planting Site

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Everything You Want to Know

Summer Message
Oak Wilt Awareness and Control Policy
What is Oak Wilt and how is it spread:
     Oak wilt, one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States, is killing oak trees in central Texas in epidemic proportions. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees. Red and Live oak trees are more susceptible than other oaks. 
     The oak wilt fungus is spread by man through movement of wood from infected oaks to other locations, contaminated pruning equipment being used and by insects (sap-feeding beetles and oak bark beetles).
Pruning guidelines for Prevention and Control:
¥    ONLY prune oak trees in January.
¥    At all times of the year, immediately after pruning or live tree removal, always paint fresh wounds on oaks with wound dressing or latex paint.
¥    Clean all pruning tools with 10% bleach solution or Lysol™ between sites and/or trees.
¥    Do NOT prune or wound oaks during the spring when the beetles that carry the fungus are moving the most (currently defined as February 1 through June 30). 
¥    Exceptions for spring pruning include:
â—¦    To accommodate public safety concerns such as hazardous or low limbs, traffic visibility or emergency utility line clearance.
â—¦    To repair damaged limbs (from storms or other anomalies)
â—¦    To remove limbs rubbing on a building or on other branches.
â—¦    Where construction schedules take precedence, pruning any live tissue should only be done to accommodate the required clearance and cuts should be immediately painted.
â—¦    Dead branch removal where no live tissue is exposed.
¥      Debris from diseased oaks should be immediately chipped and removed from site and/or burned.
National Forestry Service – Rachel McGregor 817-579-5772
Bob’s Tree Service - 817-246-4221,
Fort Worth Tree and Pest Specialist – 817-441-2276,
Silverado HOA Policy on Oak Wilt Control:
In an effort to help maintain the aesthetics and property value in SOTB the board of Directors have adopted the following policy for Homeowners.
•    Members may ONLY prune oak trees in January – see above for exceptions.
If pruning is being conducted outside this timeframe the member will be warned in writing and asked to cease. (This document along with a signature and date is considered sufficient)
•    Tree removal or treatment should occur within 30 days of the identification of a diseased tree. 
If diseased trees are not removed the HOA may exercise right of abatement and remove the trees at the member’s expense. Arborist services may be assessed as well