En Español

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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 26, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Leaf spot as indicator of Oak Wilt Disease
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I live close to the Wilflower Center. I have two trees in my front yard which are just now showing brown spots on the leaves. I fear this may be oak wilt. Would it be possible for me to bring some sample leaves to the Wildflower Center and have someone tell me if my trees have oak wilt?


Browns leaf spot are not normally indicative of Oak Wilt Disease. There are, however, any number of fungi, viruses, insects and other causes which produce spotting of oak leaves. Close examination of the leaves would be required to make a certain diagnosis of the cause. Many fungal diseases are more prevalent in wet years like we are having now. Happily, most oak leaf diseases do not cause serious harm to the trees they attack, though some defoliation may occur.

The Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership website, which was built and is maintained by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and partner organizations, has much more information about Oak Wilt Disease, including information on visual identification.

In the interest of maintaining the good health of the trees at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we would prefer that you do not bring diseased or pest infested plant material to us. A better solution is to send sharply-focused, close-up digital images of the affected plant parts via email to id@smartyplants.org. If we cannot identify the cause of the problem, you may contact your County Extension Service agent, or send a plant sample to the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Texas A&M.


More Trees Questions

Hardy taproot trees for Oklahoma City
June 13, 2013 - What are some hardy tap root trees for central Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

Wind damage to pecan tree in Royse City, TX
June 14, 2009 - The wind broke my pecan tree trunk in two. It is approximately 2 in caliper and about 15 feet tall. Is there a tree trunk repair?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing native trees for Manor,TX
August 04, 2005 - A friend wants to plant fast-growing trees to disguise a road on ranchland east of Manor, Texas. Any ideas? Many thanks.
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

Mexican Sycamore trees grown from seed
November 15, 2011 - If someone is selling an alleged Mexican Sycamore grown from a seed harvested from a mature tree growing in Austin, is it likely to be a TRUE Mexican Sycamore -- or has it most likely been pollinated ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center