Oak Wilt Mitigation Program


Oak Wilt

Review the following links to learn more about oak wilt in the City of Helotes. Residents wanting to apply for a reimbursement shall complete the Oak Wilt Mitigation Program Application form after reviewing the Oak Wilt Mitigation Program Outline. Any questions about trees, oak wilt, or the mitigation program should be directed to the City of Helotes Arborist.

What is Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt is an infectious vascular disease that invades and disables the water conducting system in susceptible trees. All oaks can be infected with oak wilt.

Why should we be concerned with Oak Wilt Mitigation?

The City of Helotes is a known hot spot for oak wilt. The area is predominantly covered with live oaks. Live oaks tend to grow from root sprouts and can form root grafts very readily. All or most of the live oaks within a given area share a common root system. If one tree in a group of live oak trees becomes infected with oak wilt, then the pathogen can spread through the common root system at an average rate of about 75 feet per year.

How do we prevent Oak Wilt?

The City of Helotes has been actively combating oak wilt by enforcing Chapter 94-6 of the City’s adopted Vegetation Code, which incorporates the following:

  • (a) Applicability. Tree pruning restrictions shall apply to all real property within the City’s corporate limits and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
  • (d) Branch/root pruning and wounded trees. All broken branches and exposed roots one-half-inch in diameter or greater of any protected, heritage, or replacement tree shall be cut cleanly. In the case of oak species susceptible to oak wilt, wounds must be painted with an acceptable wound dressing within 30 minutes from the time of cutting.
  • (e) Oak wilt. Trimming or cutting of any oak tree susceptible to oak wilt is prohibited within the corporate city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction (EDJ) of the City of Helotes from the first day of February to the last day of May. Permission, however, may be granted to any entity wishing to trim or cut an oak tree susceptible to oak wilt during the prohibited months, provided that the entity contracts with an licensed professional tree care or landscaping company. The professional tree care or landscaping company shall obtain a permit from the City prior to any tree trimming, de-mossing, or removal in the City. In the case of oak species susceptible to oak wilt, wounds must be painted with an acceptable wound dressing within 30 minutes from the time of cutting. All trimming tools shall be cleaned with a disinfectant after each use to prevent spreading of the disease.

Residents can help prevent oak wilt by following these tips from Texas A&M Forest Services, 2020:

  • Avoid pruning or wounding oaks between February 1 and May 31 each year.
  • Sterilize/sanitize all pruning equipment between trees.
  • Immediately paint all wounds on oaks to prevent contact with contaminated beetles. Wounds can be either man-made or natural and include freshly cut stumps and damaged surface roots.
  • Promptly remove and, either burn or bury, all red oaks that are dying or have been recently killed by oak wilt.
Goals of the Helotes Oak Wilt Mitigation Program

Tree canopy protection and replacement is the ultimate goal of the City of Helotes tree protection ordinances and the Helotes Oak Wilt Mitigation Program. By implementing these measures, the City hopes to following the provisions of the Helotes Master Plan, including:

  1. Preserves the neighborhood character of Helotes;
  2. Improves the quality of living for Helotes citizens;
  3. Preserves and enhances the rural atmosphere of Helotes;
  4. Responsibly protects the natural environmental resources of Helotes;
  5. Preserves the rugged beauty and natural environment that defines the Hill Country character of Helotes and makes it a unique and desirable community; and
  6. Prevents the clear-cutting of land.
Helotes Oak Wilt Mitigation Program Outline

Properties with Oak Wilt

Eligible properties in the City of Helotes corporate limits and/or ETJ may receive a one-time reimbursement of half of the total cost of mitigation up to a maximum of $500.00 per property for the following activities:

  • Remove dead or symptomatic trees.
  • Trench around sick trees to prevent or slow the spread of oak wilt.
  • Treat trees that may be infected by symptomatic trees close to infected trees.

All Properties

Eligible properties in the City of Helotes corporate limits and/or ETJ may receive a one-time reimbursement of half of the total cost of mitigation up to a maximum of $500.00 per property for the following activities:

  • Plant new preferred tree species that are not susceptible to oak wilt. Preferred tree species include:
    • Cedar Elm
    • Montezuma Cypress
    • Mexican Sycamore
    • Chinese Pistache
    • Bigtooth Maple
    • Deodor Cedar
    • Italian Stone Pine
    • Anacua
    • Thornless Honeylocust
    • Cottonwood
    • Other Native Texas Trees (upon request)

W-9 Form Required for Reimbursement

Click here to access a fillable W-9 Form. The applicant shall complete this form and submit it to Susan Darst, Purchasing, at the City Helotes. If you have questions about completing this form, go to the IRS website for assistance.

The document may be mailed to the City of Helotes, Attn: Susan Darst, 12951 Bandera Road, Helotes, TX or the applicant may bring a copy of the completed document to Susan Darst at Helotes City Hall (12951 Bandera Road) Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Oak Wilt Mitigation Program Application
Use this box to explain your project type as indicated above.
Provide a brief description of your oak wilt mitigation project.
Enter the total dollar amount you spent on this project.
Enter a dollar amount that you are requesting for reimbursement as part of this program. Note: Eligible projects may receive up to half of the total Amount Spent, up to $500 per property.
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 10 files.
Use this field to upload receipts or any other necessary documentation for your project. The following document types are accepted: JPG, PNG, PDF, or DOC.

City Arborist