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

Replanting a Desert Willow
February 07, 2016 - My desert willow was damaged badly in a winter storm and had to be taken down. Do I need to remove the old root system below grade when I plant a new desert willow?
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Tall, narrow evergreen for front of house in Flower Mound, TX
June 21, 2009 - Please recommend a tall, narrow evergreen to be placed at the front corner of my house.
view the full question and answer

Will Fragrant Ash grow in Bowie County TX?
April 24, 2011 - I live in south Bexar County in very fine deep sand. Will the Fraxinus cuspidata grow in my soil and temperature?
view the full question and answer

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