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
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

Tall trees for planting around a swimming pool in Frisco, Texas
May 04, 2010 - Could you please tell me what kind of tall trees would be best to plant around a swimming pool in Frisco, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Why all the acorns from Austin
November 03, 2010 - What's the explanation for the huge crop of acorns falling from my live oak trees this fall. Do you recommend I dump them in my composter or just throw them in the flower beds? Thanking you in adv...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a redbud sized tree to plant in Tulsa OK.
September 27, 2011 - I am looking for a native tree about the size of a redbud to place in my prairie bed in Tulsa Oklahoma, wildlife friendly trees preferred, thanks!
view the full question and answer

Retention of essential oils by Ashe Juniper wood from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I am looking for information on why local Austin Juniper/Cedar trees are so great at retaining essential oils for aromatherapy. I make pendants for necklaces out of our local fallen cedar trees and ...
view the full question and answer

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