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

Sunday - March 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Propagation, Trees
Title: Vehicle friendly oak trees for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do Chinquapins, Shumards or Live Oaks produce lots of tree sap? I'm looking for a vehicle friendly Oak tree to be installed in parking areas in Austin, Texas.

ANSWER:

Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) is evergreen, while Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak), and Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) are deciduous. Actually, Live Oaks do drop a third to a half of their leaves, usually in the late winter, every year, but they are smaller and more easily dealt with, plus you have the advantage of the trees being green year-round, which you won't have with the others. All three trees are native to Texas and, therefore, good selections for Austin.

In terms of tree sap, almost all sap falling or dripping from trees is the product of insects, most often aphids. Generally, this aphid damage is not enough to cause problems for cars parked under them. There are other, more serious insect infestations that can cause sap to be exuded. The worst of these does not just cause irritating dribbles on the cars, but can quickly kill the tree. Of the trees you asked about, only Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) is a live oak. Live Oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than the others, which should definitely be a consideration in your choice. This link to the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership will give you some valuable advice on oak wilt. Please take note of the information on that site, and, if you decide to plant live oaks, to make sure the proper cultural practices are observed in caring for them.

By, the way, all oaks bloom in the spring, and put out a fine dusting of green pollen. Not only is this an allergen for many people, but it's also pretty irritating on paving, walks and cars.


Quercus fusiformis

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus shumardii

 

 

More Trees Questions

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Twig girdlers attacking an Elm tree in Wimberly, TX.
October 27, 2009 - I was looking at my small 6' cedar elm and noticed that four (4) 1/2" limbs have circle cuts a 1/8" wide completely around them and they are dead. Is this some insect or maybe a bigger critter? I h...
view the full question and answer

Leaf spot as indicator of Oak Wilt Disease
May 26, 2007 - 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 som...
view the full question and answer

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Native maples for the Austin, TX area
May 21, 2005 - I am new to the state of Texas. I lived in Canada all of my life and miss my maple trees. Are maple trees (green or red leafed varieties) able to thrive in Austin?
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