Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Wednesday - December 12, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Determine oak wilt in red oaks
Answered by: Candace Fountoulakis

QUESTION:

I am concerned my red oaks have oak wilt. How can I tell what is wrong with them?

ANSWER:

Determining if oak wilt has been contracted by a red oak starts with looking at the tree while leaves are still present to see if any areas have turned brown or put on fall color before they should have, the presence of dead leaves on a single branch or if young green leaves have wilted or fallen off.  Red oaks that are infected with the oak wilt fungus will die rather quickly. A professional evaluation of the tree on site where a sample from the trunk can be taken would be advisable. A lab analysis will determine if oak wilt is present. If the tree has been killed by the fungus, it should be cut down and the wood removed, not stored. The fungus can live on under the bark and created a new generation of spores in the spring from mats under the bark. This will cause the disease to spread to other trees when beetles are present as well. 

Please visit the website www.texasoakwilt.org to see photos of diseased leaves, vendor lists and other helpful information about determining the health of your oaks. Other diseases of trees cause similar symptoms that may not be fatal to your red oaks, so a professional certified arborist is your most reliable resource to determine what is wrong with your trees. I have attached a link to our plant database on Shumard red oaks, as well as an image from our gallery.

 Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak)

 

From the Image Gallery


Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

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

Yaupon hollies dying mysteriously
July 16, 2014 - I have a row of yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) that I keep trimmed like a hedge. They were all healthy for many years. Two years ago one of them died and I removed it, leaving a gap in the line of h...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

Treating scarred Gum Bumelia from Lampasas TX
June 05, 2013 - We have a very old Gum Bumelia with a scarred open tree trunk. In the past concrete was used to fill the scarred trunk. What is the acceptable method of helping the tree. More concrete or using blac...
view the full question and answer

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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.