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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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Wednesday - July 22, 2009

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Brown spots on live oak leaves in Cedar Park, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a live oak that was planted 4 years ago. It had several brown spots last summer, but recovered over the winter. Now it has lots of brown leaves and looks very sad. What is the best way to help it get better? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Diagnosing plant diseases or disorders via email is tricky business. 

The most likely cause of the brown leaves on your live oak is water stress -- either too little or too much.  Since Central Texas is now in the midst of a two-year drought and an exceptionally hot summer, we going to say the most likely cause is too little water.  However, overwatering can be just as deadly.

Disease is a possibility.  Oak Wilt disease is common in your area.  However, we would not expect to see it just now since the fungus is most active in the spring and fall.

The best way to find out for sure what is wrong with your tree and to learn what to do about it is to employ a certified arborist.  Another alternative is to consult with your county's Cooperative Extension Service agent.

 

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