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?

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
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

Sunday - August 23, 2009

From: Lexington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Scrub oaks dropping limbs in Lexington TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in the country between Elgin and Lexington. One of our "scrub" oaks is dropping large limbs. On examination, the limbs have green leaves and they do not appear to be rotted. Do you think the cause is extreme lack of rain or disease?

ANSWER:

We are a little puzzled (as we usually are about common names) as to what plant you are referring to. We found four members of the Quercus (oak) genus with the common name "scrub oak" in our Native Plant Database, but only two of them are native even to Texas, and none to the actual area of Lee County you are referring to. These oaks are Quercus mohriana (Mohr oak), native to the Big Bend area and portions of the Panhandle, and Quercus turbinella (Sonoran scrub oak) which just shows up in a couple counties in the far western tip of Texas. 

Whatever the scientific name of the trees you are concerned with, there is no doubt that the heat and drouth are a contributing factor to many of the plant problems we are experiencing in Central Texas.  Whether that is the only cause of the problem or there is another cause, pest or disease, we have no way of knowing, that's a little out of our line. You can bet if you are having that trouble, others in your area are, too. The best way to contact an expert who not only knows what plant you have, but what is causing the problem and, hopefully, what to do about it is to go to this website for the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Lee County.

Pictures of Quercus turbinella (Sonoran scrub oak)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery


Quercus mohriana

Quercus mohriana

 

 

More Trees Questions

Live oak wobbling in the ground from Austin
May 02, 2012 - I have a live oak that was not planted firmly in the ground by the subdivision builder's landscapers. The entire tree is wobbly to the touch and it has come close to dying as result of windy condit...
view the full question and answer

Dirt at tree base from Austin
November 03, 2012 - Hello, I recently bought a home in Austin with a live oak tree which is about eight years old. The previous owner did exactly what all the experts say NOT to do, which was to mound dirt right up agai...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Need information about pruning Persimmon trees in Buda, TX.
November 29, 2010 - Mr. Smarty, We have many wild persimmon trees in our yard. Some I want prune to bush size. What is the best way to prune these trees and to what extent can they be safely pruned. Thank you for shari...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center