Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

 

 

More Trees Questions

Is black olive (Bucida buchera) toxic to people or dogs?
June 02, 2009 - We have what we think is a black olive tree growing in our front yard, which I keep trimmed to about 4 feet high. A bird dropped the seedling in my garden, so I'm not quite sure it's a black olive,...
view the full question and answer

What are the native fruit-bearing plants in North America?
February 16, 2010 - What are the native fruit-bearing plants in North America?
view the full question and answer

Oak sap dripping on driveway in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Why would oak sap be dripping on driveway at this time when other oaks the neighbors have are not.
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks during drought in Austin
July 29, 2009 - Should we be watering our live oaks and Spanish oaks during this drought? How often and how much?
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.