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

Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
July 13, 2012 - The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
view the full question and answer

Live oak leaves yellowing from Denton TX
January 26, 2012 - In autumn of 2010 I planted 10 live oaks about 6 to 7 ft. tall. I have see that during the month of Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012 they are showing some yellow leaves. What can I do to help them?
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Native Desert Willow and bunchgrass for Lubbock TX
July 29, 2013 - We live in Lubbock and have decided to try to make our front yard as native as possible. It has been a very difficult process finding native species locally (even the local Aggie nursery sells a lot ...
view the full question and answer

Eastern Redbud Flowers and Leaves Dried Up
June 12, 2014 - I have a young Eastern Redbud that started blooming last year. This year blossoms formed and leaves started to come, but now they are all dried up. What might have caused this?
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