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
1 rating

Monday - October 05, 2009

From: Kemah, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Dying Pine Trees in Texas
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

I live on the water front street in Kemah, Texas. We took water in the entire neighborhood during Hurricane Ike. That's been a year ago and now I have noticed our pines trees are starting to die. I saw one in my neighbor's yard starting to yellow about 2 months ago and now I can see a dozen from my yard that are dead in the area. Whatever is causing this is moving rather quickly and appears to be going to infect them all. I'm thinking pine beetles maybe? Could the salt water be killing them even after a full year since the storm? All the other tree species seem fine but the pines have started dying one by one.

ANSWER:

You are likely right on both accounts.  Hurricane Ike and the subsequent year of drought conditions have stressed pine trees, making them prone to disease and insect attack.  There are several types of beetles that attack pine trees and you can contact your local Extension Office to find out if there is a particular pest causing damage in your area.  Also, the Texas Forest Service has a webpage (link below) that gives an overview of several different pine tree pests.  Based on your description, it sounds to me like you have Pine engraver beetles (Ips beetles).  Take a look at Evidence of Beetle Attacks on the Texas Forest Service website and compare your trees with the detailed photographs of Ips beetle colonization to determine if that is indeed the critter you are dealing with.  Unfortunately, the Texas Forest Service doesn't offer a chip of hope for pine trees already infested by the Ips beetle, advising home owners to promptly remove infested trees to prevent emerging adult beetles from attacking neighboring pine trees.  If your trees are not yet under attack, then prevention is your best and only defense.  When there hasn't been enough rain, water the trees slowly and deeply (1" to 4" of water every 10 days or so) beneath the canopy, but not right next to the trunk.  Avoid damage to the bark and limbs that could be caused by weed trimmers or pruning and damage to the root system caused by vehicles or construction equipment compacting the soil.  The beetles prefer to colonize sick and injured trees, so if you can maintain the health of your trees, the beetles will likely pass them up for weaker specimens.

Pest Management

Prevention & Control of Pine Engraver Beetles


 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need help with canker in willows in Flagstaff, AZ.
March 18, 2010 - We've got a lot of willows in high altitude desert conditions, irrigated. They've got canker and I want to know if there's anything I can paint on the pruning wounds when I go around trying to remo...
view the full question and answer

Problems with rock rose in Austin
June 10, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Pants, We have a Texas Rock Rose which is growing next to our gravel path in Austin, with grass growing under it. In the last week, it has stopped blooming suddenly, and all the leaves h...
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Red oaks that didn't drop leaves in Austin
April 04, 2012 - I have a number of Red Oaks on land that did not drop leaves this past fall. Now these same trees seem to be dead? It seems there's some type of mold/fungus on the trees. Some trees have small patche...
view the full question and answer

Bacterial spot in peach tree in McDade TX
February 05, 2009 - I have a Red Globe peach tree which was planted in February 2008. The local agricultural extension agent identified the tree as having Bacterial Spot in November 2008. They recommended copper hydrox...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center