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

Thursday - November 11, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bacterial wetwood disease in ash tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an Ash tree in my front yard. It's about 25 - 30 years old. About 2 months ago, it began to ooze sap from a point where a limb had been pruned, I'd say, about 15 - 20 years ago. So this cut was healed and ok. So the sap is running, it's clear and bubbly. It is surrounded by moths, bees and flies!! When I come home from work, it is hissing. Really, my tree hisses. My son figures it's posessed. My question to you is: what's happening here?!?!?! Is this normal? Any advice is welcome.

ANSWER:

A possessed tree, eh? Just in time for Halloween!
I can't be sure but it sounds as if your tree has "bacterial wetwood" disease. This sounds dire, but actually it is not particularly serious. The University of Illinois Extension gives a description of the disease and recommendations for treatment. Colorado State University also has web page information about wetwood disease. In neither of these articles do they mention that the trees "hiss" but they do mention gases produced by the disease that certainly could produce a hissing noise escaping from the tree.
 

More Trees Questions

Is my Crimson queen maple dying?
October 20, 2015 - Is my Crimson queen maple dying if it's leaves are turning brown?
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae and flower garden fighting for space in Seattle WA
May 22, 2010 - Hi, I put in dozens of Arbovitae, mature evergreen trees, 4 yrs ago for privacy. They are doing well, but I was surrounding a flower garden which now appears to be suffering due to the root system of ...
view the full question and answer

Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
May 04, 2013 - We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trim...
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Restoring riverfront from Blanco Flood
October 04, 2015 - We have cleared our riverfront from the Blanco Flood and I am now looking for help in replanting native trees/grass on our property. Our home was in the Flood of Hayes county Memorial Weekend. I am ...
view the full question and answer

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