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
2 ratings

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


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!


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.


More Trees Questions

Wound to ash tree in Connecticut
January 29, 2009 - My parents live in CT and there is a ravine on the side of their property with a beautiful ash tree on the bank. A week or two ago a drunk driver crashed their car into the ash. Now the tree has a l...
view the full question and answer

Need a native tree for full sun in Hockley, TX
October 27, 2009 - What native trees should I plant for full sun. I am building on a 1/2 acre previously used as grazing land on the original Katy prairie. I need one large shade tree, a few smaller ornamentals, and a...
view the full question and answer

Why are my potted Prunus caroliniana plants shedding leaves in LA, CA?
May 02, 2011 - I bought Prunus caroliniana in pots to use as privacy fence on my balcony. Have had them for about 6 weeks and they are shedding a lot of leaves. Some leave are drying out and others have what ...
view the full question and answer

Should I purchase wax myrtle plants as liners or pots
July 18, 2011 - I want to buy some wax myrtle over internet.Place has wax myrtle "liners" They look very thin. Will these bushes grow quickly or should I spend more $ for 1 gallon plants. Just need a hedge fairly q...
view the full question and answer

Hardy taproot trees for Oklahoma City
June 13, 2013 - What are some hardy tap root trees for central Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center