Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - December 12, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Galls on live oak tree in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Austin, and have a 13 year old live oak in my yard. It has developed little spheres, kind of like green peas, on the underside of the leaves. What is it? Is it harmful? Is there something I should be doing to get rid of them?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to refer you to the answer to a recent question from someone else in Central Texas with the same, or at least similar, problem.  The little spheres are galls made by the trees tissue in response to the developing larva of an insect feeding on the leaf.  The galls are rarely injurious to the tree and there isn't really a method (such as spraying) to kill the larva inside the gall.  Here is a copy of the answer:

"They are galls caused by the trees reaction to insects laying their eggs in the leaves. The tree's tissues expand and grow around the developing egg and the resulting larvae that feeds on the plant tissue before emerging as an adult.  The galls may not be aesthetically attractive but they are not especially deleterious to the trees.  There is really no way to "treat" them since the insect is safely ensconced within the gall and won't be reached by any insecticide.  Here are some articles related to galls from Texas A&M Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab and from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.  Here are photos of oak leaf galls caused by Belonocnema tratae and more photos of oak galls from the Central Texas Gardener blog."

 

More Pests Questions

Plants ants avoid from McAllen TX
May 22, 2010 - Which native plants do ANTS avoid (are there?)? We have a big ant problem here. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Possible webbing bark lice on oak tree
August 08, 2008 - We live near the Center and have a large live oak tree in our yard. Recently the lower trunk has been covered with thin, white weblike material (not sure if spider web). What could this be and is it d...
view the full question and answer

Insects attacking Gregg's Blue Mistflower from Comfort TX
June 20, 2013 - I have a beautiful stand of Gregg's Blue Mist flower that have been attacked by an unknown insect. The new growth is curled and stunted and it is not flowering. I'm not alone..I've seen the Gregg'...
view the full question and answer

Something eating leaves of Eastern Redbud in San Antonio
May 27, 2010 - I know you had this question a few years back but no answer. Something is eating the leaves of my Redbud (Eastern, I think. There are varying sizes of bites, but most leaves stripped, some to stem. Pl...
view the full question and answer

Control of invasive sandburs in Austin
May 05, 2014 - My attempts to control / eradicate Sanbur with pre-emergent corn gluten twice yeary for the last three years have been unsuccessful. My post emergent pulling weeds for 15 years has also been unsucces...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.