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

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

Does Mexican plum require more than one plant for successful pollination?
May 25, 2011 - Re: Mexican plums.. Do I need to plant more than 1 to ensure proper pollination? I have always been told that commercial plums need at least 2 to pollinate properly for consistent plum production. A...
view the full question and answer

Tree species for a small yard
June 29, 2012 - I have a small front yard area. Maybe 10' x 15'. It is also elevated. There is a retaining wall about 4 feet high. The builders planted a live oak! I think it is a nightmare waiting to happen as it ...
view the full question and answer

Further explanation of retaining walls and trees from Washington MO
March 11, 2013 - I had a question previously about putting retaining walls across the root system of a 40' tall bald cypress tree(not like spokes on a wheel, but concentric to tree trunk). How wide can the walls be? ...
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Anacacho Orchid in Smithville TX
January 24, 2011 - What conditions (soil type, sun/shade, understory? etc.) to grow a healthy Anacacho Orchid tree? And what is the best size tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

Can a pecan tree be kept from producing for a season?
July 03, 2009 - Can a pecan tree be kept from producing for a season?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center