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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - May 11, 2009

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Problems with red oak in New Braunfels TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

One of my red oaks still doesn't have all its flowers. The main bark has some dark stuff oozing out and one of the branches has a fine powdery substance on it. HELP!!!!

ANSWER:

There are several oaks that are referred to by the common name "red oak." Since you are in central Texas, we are betting that what you have is Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak).  All of the red oaks are very susceptible  to Oak Wilt, and first symptoms usually show up in the Spring. Since we are not plant pathologists and wouldn't even try to diagnose at a distance, we want to first refer you to this USDA Forest Service article How to Identify, Prevent and Control Oak Wilt. Another possibility is discussed in the Texas A&M article on East Texas Gardening Hypoxylon Canker in Oaks.  The white  substance on the branch is probably powdery mildew .

We would really like to say it's really nothing to worry about, and we hope it is nothing to worry about, but we think you need to get someone who knows about oak pests and diseases on the spot to look at the problem and make recommendations. Start by contacting the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office Comal County. There is contact information on their homepage. 

 

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