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?


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 - June 11, 2009

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Curling lower leaves on live oak in Cedar Park, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have noticed that one of my live oak tree, the leaves on the bottom of the tree have stared to curl. The leaves above that look fine. The trees are about 12 yrs old. Any suggestions?


Since you live in either Northern Travis County or Williamson County, we are going to assume that you have a Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), which is native to that area. Unfortunately, we cannot begin any discussion of problems with a live oak without talking about Oak Wilt. To give you more information about the appearance and symptoms of this disease, see this USDA website Identify, Prevent and Control Oak Wilt.  

There are two other possible reasons for the curling of the leaves, Oak Anthracnose and Oak Decline. Oak Anthracnose, while it causes curling and discoloration on lower leaves, seems to affect only white oaks, not live oaks. Ditto with Oak Decline, which is most often caused by insects or diseases that invade a tree already in trouble for some other reason.

It is almost impossible to diagnose a plant disease without seeing it. You would be advised to contact someone who is trained in the recognition of oak diseases and arrange to have the tree examined. Go to the Texas Oak Wilt Partnership webpage for some suggestions on how to get help. Another valuable source of information on tree diseases is the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Williamson County. There is always the possibility that some insect of which we are not aware is causing this type of symptom in your area. The website has contact information, and they possibly even can give you a source for diagnosis.


More Trees Questions

Plants for clay soil in Leavenworth IN
October 02, 2009 - I live in south central Indiana; the soil is very bad clay, either hard as a rock or mud. I have made several raised beds but am still having problems with plants rotting. What types of plants work he...
view the full question and answer

How to treat bark damage on oak tree
November 15, 2011 - I have an oak tree approx. 50 ft., live in austin, texas. the tree has dropped bark about 3-4 ft above ground, in a section of 4 inches by 8 inches, and the tree appears dark where the bark was. is ...
view the full question and answer

Native trees to replace dying Arizona ash (Fraxinus velutina)
June 06, 2008 - I have two 25-30 year old Arizona Ash trees in my front yard, which I think are dying. They are the only shade my house gets, and I am dreading losing them. (They are massive and beautiful) What are m...
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling off recently transplanted mature Mountain Laurel
July 05, 2006 - I have recently purchased a Mountain Laurel for my backyard landscaping. It is a fully matured ML standing over 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide. Since it was planted (about 6 weeks ago) it has been losin...
view the full question and answer

Pruning a Wafer Ash to make it upright
February 11, 2005 - How do I trim a Wafer Ash? It lays on the ground. Is that normal? Does it need to be upright?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center