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 Trees Questions

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Saving a 350-year old Live Oak
March 14, 2015 - I live in Jefferson Parish outside New Orleans. I have a large Live Oak tree that is over 350 years old and has been damaged by Katrina. I have contacted one arborist and they said that the tree is st...
view the full question and answer

I need a tall tree with kind roots for a narrow space
March 11, 2009 - We have a space in the yard where a building is within 3 to 6 feet of where we would like a tall tree. What tree could achieve two stories in height, while not messing with the foundation of the bu...
view the full question and answer

Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
July 25, 2010 - We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native grapefruit from seeds from Austin
April 30, 2013 - Can you grow ruby red grapefruit trees from seeds?
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