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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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Wednesday - October 27, 2004

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Possible reasons for early leaf drop of post oaks in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a post oak tree in my back yard that has been losing its leaves since mid-September. This is my first year in the house, and I am surprised that the tree would lose its leaves while the temperatures are still warm. Is this typical or should I seek professional assistance?

ANSWER:

The post oak (Quercus stellata) is very sensitive to root disturbance (such as that caused by construction work) that compacts the soil and lowers the amount of oxygen available. You don't say whether or not your house is newly constructed, but if it is this might be the reason for the leaf loss. You might like to read what the TAMU Aggie Horticulture page says about the post oak.
You can also read about the post oak on the Wildflower Center web page.
To be on the safe side with your tree, it would probably be wise to consult a reliable arborist to look at it. You can find a list of Austin members of the International Society of Arboriculture on their web page and you can find a list of Texas members of the American Society of Consulting Arborists by searching on their web page.
 

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