Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Small flowering tree for Burbank IL
April 14, 2010 - Looking for a semi-dwarf flowering tree resistant to disease and insects. Current flowering crab has fire blight. What would you suggest planting. We live in a Chicago IL suburb.
view the full question and answer

Damage to cedar elm from Austin
August 16, 2013 - We have a cedar elm next to the corner of our house that has been dropping lots and lots of twigs with green leaves over the past 3 weeks, while our other elms have not. These rapidly pile up on the p...
view the full question and answer

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native avocado outside from Austin
December 27, 2012 - My son has a very large avocado tree that he rooted from a pit that is currently growing in a large container. However, it has gotten too big to winter inside. Can it be planted in the ground in Aust...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree, non-toxic for horses, in Northern California
March 18, 2010 - Hello..I need to find a fast growing shade tree, native to California (I live in Northern California, south of San Francisco) that would be safe next to (but not in) my horses paddock. Obviously some...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.