En Español

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
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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

Mixed native plantings for steep slope in Austin
April 18, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: We wrote to you recently about plantings for a fairly steep slope in a park in Austin. We had asked about grasses and perennials. An article about planting on slopes in this mo...
view the full question and answer

Are poplar trees and willows safe for animals to eat
August 04, 2008 - poplar trees and willows, are they friendly for farm animals to consume leaves?
view the full question and answer

At what age does Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) begin to flower in Pflugerville, TX?
January 13, 2011 - At what age does a female possumhaw (Ilex decidua) usually bloom and set fruit? Or is there a way to identify the female other than by the presence of berries? I grew a number from seed and want to ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of wild plum in Childress County, Texas
March 16, 2015 - I have a Wild Plum follow up question. My wife grew up around the Childress TX area. She remembers going around the creeks and gathering Wild Plums for her mother as a child. Would you have any ide...
view the full question and answer

Looking for yellow bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) and native substitutes
February 14, 2008 - I have been looking for years for a yellow bottle bush. It is identical to the red but is yellow. there are several varieties, but the one i want is just like the red one in appearance. I live in Flor...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center