En Español

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

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

pruning crape myrtle (ugh, non-native)
March 05, 2012 - We would like to plant a Dynamite Crape myrtle in front of our front window. They grow 20' to 30'. Can I trim it each year to about 15' to 20'? Should we plant it approximately 5 feet from the ...
view the full question and answer

Are fuzzy oak leaf galls harmful to post oak trees?
October 19, 2012 - Are the fuzzy balls on the undersides of our post oak trees harmful?
view the full question and answer

Graywater with soap on trees and shrubs from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I previously asked you about using rinse water from our top loading washer to water trees and flowers. I have two more questions: Can I use the soapy water to water trees and shrubs? Then I get...
view the full question and answer

Is mulch from hackberry and chinaberry trees safe for flowerbeds?
September 17, 2014 - We had to remove several large hackberry and china berry trees. Is its mulch safe to use in garden and in flower beds?
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center