En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - February 27, 2014

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Problem with Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

One of our mature Honey Mesquite trees is losing thumb sized branches high up in the canopy because something is stripping the bark. The branches are completely white for 8-12 inches. Of course the branch dies and falls to the ground. What could be eating the bark on the Mesquite?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that the damage is being caused by insects—probably wood borers or girdlers.  An article from SFGate describes several pests of Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite) including borers and twig girdlers.  In the Cochise County (Arizona) Master Gardener Newsletter, August 2006, Mesquite Trees Under Stress describes several borer insects that could cause the damage you are seeing.  Control of one of these borers, Chrysobothris femorata (Flatheaded appletree borer) is the subject of an article, Managing the Flatheaded Appletree Borer, by Texas A&M AgriLIFE EXTENSION Service.  They describe symptoms of the damage to the tree. The eventual result is the bark splitting away and the limb dying.  You can read about treatment for these borers in an article from SFGate, How to Treat Mesquite for Borers.  University of California IPM Online describes another possible pest of honey mesquites, Roundheaded (Longhorned) Borers, their symptoms and control.  I consulted Dr. Mark Simmons, Director of Research and Consulting for the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower system who did his dissertation research with honey mesquite.   He says it could be one of the twig girdlers, Oncideres rhodosticta (Mesquite girdler), Oncideres pustulatus (Huisache girdler) or Oncideres cingulata (Pecan girdler).  If so, then you should be able to see the ring where they have eaten the cambium on your tree's branches.  Here are more photos of the mesquite girdler, huisache girdler and pecan girdler from BugGuide.  You could contact your Burnet County AgriLIFE Extension Agent for verification of the pest and recommendations for its control.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Acid rain in Ft. Worth?
August 19, 2010 - ALERT. NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. Why are so many trees, plants, etc. in the Fort Worth area dying?? I heard acid rain. Please don't say drought. I have lived in this area all my life and survived t...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bud out of Shumard oaks in Floresville TX
April 16, 2010 - Question: I have a Shumard red oak (9-10ft tall) that I planted last October as its leaves were turning a brilliant red color. However, it's the only tree that did not bud this spring. I scraped t...
view the full question and answer

Western soapberry dropping leaves in San Antonio
June 03, 2013 - My Western Soapberry tree (China berry?) Suddenly started dropping full, perfectly healthy green, leaf units. Now half the tree is turning yellow. There is a second tree in the yard not far from this ...
view the full question and answer

Pest on leaves of native Texas persimmon in Laredo, TX
February 20, 2009 - I have a transplanted a Texas persimmon tree from the wild. It has some globes in the leaves. It seems like some pest injected something from underside of leaves. Any suggestion? What is happening t...
view the full question and answer

Protecting storm-damaged pecan and black walnut trees in TX
June 29, 2015 - Several trees on our property in northeast Texas were uprooted by a tornado. A pecan tree with a circumference greater than 93 inches was carried to the ground. Although it is completely horizontal,...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center