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

Wednesday - May 21, 2014

From: Pipe Creek, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together. Inside is filled with a tan tight network of webbing. Though the tree had a particularly productive acorn growth last year, on we have never noticed these balls in the 35 years we've lived here. Could be we just never noticed them, I guess. Do you know what these are? Thanks!

ANSWER:

There are four species of the genus Quercus (oak) with an alternate common name of "Spanish Oak" in our Native Plant Database. Although three of them, Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak), Quercus falcata (Southern red oak) and Quercus texana (Nuttall oak), are native to Texas, only Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak) is native to Bandera County. That doesn't necessarily mean that is the tree in your garden, it just gives us one to use as an example.

Here is an article from A Greener View by Jeff Rugg on oak galls. Also, a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on this subject.The information we got from our sources was mostly saying that galls may be unsightly but are not a cause for concern, and no insecticide is going to control the insects that are causing the galls, because the insect is protected by the gall itself.  You might also consider contacting the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office for Bandera County TX.  If this is occurring on your property, it is probably showinng up on other trees in your area, and the Extension Office should be in a better position to identify the problem and/or assure you that it is not a threat to your tree.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Southern red oak
Quercus falcata

Pin oak
Quercus palustris

Nuttall oak
Quercus texana

More Pests Questions

White snails in Austin, TX.
October 01, 2014 - We walked through an undisturbed site off of Hwy. 71 near Old Bee Caves Rd. and there were little white snails on the majority of the plants on site (not specific to certain types of plants). What typ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
view the full question and answer

Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi
July 31, 2008 - I have a tulip tree in my yard that blooms in the spring that is about 10-15 years old. However just this past week or so we have noticed that there is lots of white spots on the leaves and the branc...
view the full question and answer

Secretions of fluid from crepe myrtles
June 09, 2008 - On my crepe myrtle tree I have dozens of 1/2-inch-long narrow bugs that seem to secrete tiny drops of fluid. They appear on the branches of the tree. Are these harmful to the tree? Do I need to do ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with iguanas in Ft. Lauderdale FL
August 04, 2009 - I live on the intracoastal waterway near Ft. Lauderdale,FL and I am having problems with iguana. They will not eat lantana or buttercups; however is there a poisonous ground cover, preferable with fl...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center