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

Saturday - August 02, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Mexican oak and red oak not looking healthy
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Eric Beckers

QUESTION:

I purchased a Mexican oak tree and I believe a red oak tree from your center about 1 year ago. Recently I've noticed that they don't look as healthy as they have been, and I just looked at the leaves and some of them are very dry, and some have a few spots. I have seen them both very green with many more growing leaves and growing limbs. Is it normal that with this heat they go through periods of dryness? Is there a particular product that I can give either the roots or the leaves to help them improve their health? We try to water at least every 2 days so I don't think it's lack of water. Please advise since I want these trees to grow fast and healthy. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants asked Eric Beckers of the Texas Forest Service for help with your trees problems.  Here is what he says:

"Moisture is the most important thing to get right with these newly planted trees and even missing one or two weeks can be detrimental to their health.  How about the lower trunk at ground level -- have there been any damages caused by weed whips or lawn mowers?  Are you maintaining 3-4 inches of mulch over the root zone, but not allowing it to make direct contact with the thin barked trunk?  We can expect some fungal leaf spots and even some insect damage to these young plants, but dry leaves are never a good sign.  Young trees are often beaten up by strong, desiccating winds and they may need a windbreak or screen to protect them early on in their life.  And the most important product they need is cool, clear water...in the appropriate amounts.  Try 5-10 gallons per inch of diameter per week, preferably divided out into two separate waterings."

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Ailing Lacey oak in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I have a five-year-old lacey oak that is about 5 feet tall. Last last spring it became infected with oak phylloxera, which was initially misdiagnosed. I treated it with Neem oil several time but this ...
view the full question and answer

Theory for live oak shoots from Austin
August 25, 2011 - More on preventing suckers from coming up around live oaks in Austin. I too have been puzzled - why some live oaks have shoots, and not others. Posting here says different varieties have suckers. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Ground Arizona ash wood suitable for mulch?
April 23, 2015 - We cut down a 40 year old Arizona ash tree and had the stump ground into mulch. Can we use this mulch in our vegetable garden and flower beds
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