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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 08, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Leaves falling early from red oaks.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

The leaves on my Texas red oaks are dropping off prematurely. This usually doesn't happen until late November/early December. I'm wondering if it has something to do with our wet summer, or if I should be concerned about disease or insects? They are growing out of a very rocky limestone hillside. Thanks!

ANSWER:

This seems to be a common phenomenon with the red oaks around Austin—at least around Mr. Smarty Plant's house and neighborhood. Some leaves are turning red and/or brown and falling.  A few green ones are falling, too. However, on the majority of the trees there are a large number or leaves remaining. It could well be connected to our very strange wetter and cooler than normal spring and summer or some other environmental cause.  Since this is a general occurrence it is not likely a disease or an insect infestation but just a slight alteration of the normal cycle for the trees.  I don't think this it is something to be overly concerned about.
 

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