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

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Webs on tree trunk, probably bark lice
Answered by: Nan Hampton


webs on tree trunk and creeping up. See no spiders or worms. what could be. very fine, thick web


This sounds like webs from barklice that are eating fungus and lichens on the bark of your tree.  They aren't lice at all, but are insects in a group called Psocids.  Although there are members of this group that are considered pests (e.g., booklice) the bark lice don't harm the tree—in fact, they are beneficial since they are cleaning up the bark.  We had a question a while back about webbing on a iive oak in Austin.  Here is the link to the answer where you can learn more about bark lice.

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA
June 28, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Late last year I planted a trumpet creeper vine to grow on my fence and attract hummingbirds. It gets full sun, is in average soil and gets adequate water. I put a few daylilli...
view the full question and answer

Clear pungent, liquid oozing from oak tree
June 28, 2010 - I have a large oak that over the last few days has been oozing a pungent, non sticky, clear substance from one specific site (no damage) about the size of a dime. It's attracting quite a few gnats, m...
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Exposed area on native elm in Texas
December 26, 2008 - I have an elm tree starting to show signs of dying. It has an exposed area at the trunk of the tree turning white. When it rains there is a 6-inch strip (the width of the exposed area) running up th...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on yaupon in Ft. Worth
April 23, 2009 - I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly in January in full sun. It is blooming little white flowers right now for spring, but a lot of leaves are turning yellow. Do you know what is causing this? ...
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