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 - October 03, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Webbing on the bark of a hackberry tree.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants. We have a large hackberry tree in our back yard that has what appears to be extensive spider webbing covering large areas of the bark at the trunk . . and extending well up the larger branches of the tree. Is this spider related . . . or could this be a fungus of some sort?

ANSWER:

Your tree is probably playing host to a colony of harmless creatures called bark lice.  Bark lice are in a group of insects called Psocids.  In spite of their name, they pose no threat whatsoever to humans, pets or your trees.  Psocids feed on mold, pollen, lichen, algae and decomposing plant matter.  Much more common in Southern coastal areas, bark lice need high humidity to survive and thrive.  With the arrival of a dry front the bark lice and their webs will disappear within a few days.
 

More Trees Questions

Grafting Pecan Trees
July 05, 2013 - I have planted two pecan nuts and now they are about 4 feet tall trees, they have not been grafted but can I graft one of the trees to the other and vice versa and expect pecans from then, they are he...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging branch growth of live oak trees in Austin
February 10, 2009 - I recently had an elm tree cut down that was crowding out 2 live oak trees in my front yard. The oaks have no branches on the sides that were next to the elm. The elm stump is still there. I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Mountain Laurel from Austin
July 25, 2013 - My 1-yr old mountain laurel has been decimated by small yellow and black catepillars. It recovered a bit and pushed out some fresh new growth, and more came and decimated that too. Are these caterpi...
view the full question and answer

Planting Mountain Laurel grown from seeds in Argentina
April 09, 2014 - Hello, I was transferred to Cordoba, Argentina 2 years ago from San Antonio, the climate hereis similar to S. TX, anyway I brought some mountain laurel seeds with me and they have been in 2 gallon pot...
view the full question and answer

Problems with red oak in New Braunfels TX
May 11, 2009 - One of my red oaks still doesn't have all its flowers. The main bark has some dark stuff oozing out and one of the branches has a fine powdery substance on it. HELP!!!!
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