En Español

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

Friday - October 09, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Brownish haze on live oak leaves in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My live oak tree leaves are getting a brownish "haze" on them, almost as if they have been spray painted (lightly) with brown paint. I did use the oak wilt identifier and that is not at all what it looks like. What could it be? It started with one of my trees (I have 9 on my property) and now it's moved to another. We planted them 3 years ago, and they have been mostly thriving. The first tree to show symptoms was planted (accidentally) along a fault line between the existing clay soil and the back fill from the developer of our community, and we had been having trouble with cave-in of the soil around the roots. We did remedy that situation, and attributed the leaf-browning to perhaps air pockets around the roots. However, the second tree to show the same symptoms was planted in stable earth, and is actually the largest of our trees, having grown the most since planting.

ANSWER:

We have noticed it, too.  While we are not certain of its cause, we suspect the severe drought, possibly combined with the unusually hot weather this summer took its toll on either the chlorophyll, the chloroplasts in which the chlorophyll is contained or entire cells within tissues of the oak leaves. 

Usually considered evergreens, live oaks are actually deciduous trees that shed their leaves in late winter or early spring just as new leaves are emerging.  When the new leaves appear on your trees in February or March of next year they should be a healthy, green color.

 

More Trees Questions

Trees for privacy in NY
March 17, 2011 - I am looking for trees native to New York that I can plant in front of my backyard fence that is six feet tall that will not hide my fence or overshadow my east facing garden beds and plants underneat...
view the full question and answer

Removing Old Poison Ivy Vines from Pecan Trees
July 07, 2016 - I am in the process of cleaning up a creek bank that has very old pecan trees on it. The pecan trees have large poison ivy vines growing up the trunks. We cut one vine and when it died and fell from ...
view the full question and answer

What can be planted under a pine tree in Detroit, MI?
April 22, 2008 - What type of plant would you suggest I plant under my big (Blue bruce) pine tree? It's about 25 ft high and the branches are trimmed to about 4 feet up, so it does get some light but mostly shade.I a...
view the full question and answer

Tree to plant by pool replacing mulberry in Las Vegas
January 18, 2009 - I am looking for a tree to plant between my house and pool. We just cut down a mulberry that was here due to its invasive root system. Are there any plants that can tolerate Vegas weather, provide a...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing shade tree for Corona CA
September 17, 2014 - Hi, I'm looking for a fast growing shade tree. I live in Corona CA so it will need to do well in a lot of sun, moderate winds and clay soil. Thanks so much for your suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center