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
1 rating

Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Leaves on Spanish oaks in Hays County TX dying
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have many Spanish Oaks on my Hays County property. The leaves started blooming last week, but this week all the young leaves are brown and appear to be dying. This is happening to all the otherwise healthy Spanish/Red oaks in the area. Cause for concern?

ANSWER:

There are three species of the genus Quercus with the common name "Spanish Oak" in our Native Plant Database: Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak), Quercus falcata (southern red oak) and Quercus texana (Texas red oak). You can follow the plant links to pages on the individual plants and determine which is growing in your area. It doesn't really matter in this context, however, as all are red oaks. Cause for concern? You bet! Species of red oak get Oak Wilt more frequently and succumb more readily than white oaks. The main period of infection is in the spring, with symptoms in red oaks occurring early in May. That is one ray of hope, at least, since the symptoms in your area were obviously appearing earlier than that. Please read this USDA Forest Service article on Oak Wilt by Charles O. Rexrode and Daniel Brown, which includes pictures of infected trees, ways the disease is transmitted and possible ways to prevent infection. There is no known cure for Oak Wilt.

There are other things, rapidly changing temperatures, insects, etc. that might be causing those symptoms, but it's out of our ability to diagnose or recommend from a distance. You should contact someone in your area who specializes in tree diseases and get them onsite to try to figure out what is going on. We would suggest you start by contacting the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension office for Hays County and asking for help. If this is as widespread as you say, they may already be aware of it and can give you information. At the very least, they can perhaps recommend a licensed arborist to come out and try to diagnose the problem. We very much hope that you find out that not only is it NOT Oak Wilt, but that the leaves are already starting to leaf out fresh and green.

 

More Trees Questions

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Pruning dogwood in TX
February 02, 2011 - I have a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) sapling that I would like to keep at shrub height (~6 ft) rather than let it form a tree. Can I encourage this by cutting the main trunk, and if so, by ...
view the full question and answer

Florida law on removing orange trees
March 24, 2007 - I live in a co-op mobile home park with a board of directors that tell me that if I have to cut down my orange tree that Florida law says that I have to replace it with another orange tree. I say that...
view the full question and answer

Watering live oak trees from McAllen TX
December 24, 2012 - What are the watering requirements for live oak trees in deep south Texas? How often and how many inches to be applied? One pop-up spray sprinkler spaced approximately fifteen feet away from each tr...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for South Dakota
August 08, 2008 - Hi, I'm looking for something to use as a hedge. 8 foot or so tall offering semi privacy all year. I like dogwoods but loss of leaves in the winter makes me skeptical. Boxwood would be interesting...
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