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

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

Pecan with brown spots on the leaves
June 11, 2010 - Southern pecan, I am a 8 foot tall and 3 year old (young)tree. My leafs have brown spots on top and hard shell mound on the bottom, this is on about 3/4 of the of the leafs, could you tell me what th...
view the full question and answer

Need a tree to grow on the south shore of Long Island, NY
May 29, 2010 - I live on the south shore of Long Island NY. My property is directly on Great South Bay and consists of sandy soil and beach grasses. I am wondering what trees would do well in this type of environm...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in pecan tree in Garner NC
July 19, 2012 - I transplanted a pecan tree about 3 weeks ago & been watering it 3 times a day. The leaves are turning brown & crumbly before I water it. After I water it, the leaves are brown but I can scratch the t...
view the full question and answer

Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
August 08, 2011 - If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
view the full question and answer

Galls on live oak tree in Austin
December 12, 2013 - I live in Austin, and have a 13 year old live oak in my yard. It has developed little spheres, kind of like green peas, on the underside of the leaves. What is it? Is it harmful? Is there somethin...
view the full question and answer

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