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
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

Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
November 21, 2009 - We have a 3 year old Drummond Red Maple, between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house, that fell during Hurricane Ike. We replanted it. I recently noticed that the bark is severely cracke...
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) refuses to bloom
March 07, 2008 - We have a Texas Mountain Laurel that gets full sunlight, but does not bloom. It is 4-5 ft tall & 3-4 ft wide & healthy. Is there anything we can do to make it bloom next year?
view the full question and answer

Hardy Tree for Kansas
March 14, 2012 - I'm hoping to find a tree that is hardy and will survive all rough seasons in Wichita, KS. The spot is in front of a northern exposure window.
view the full question and answer

Has Texas Black Persimmon been crossed with non-native persimmons from Austin
August 17, 2013 - Hi. I just found a Texas Black Persimmon in my neighborhood. The fruit is olive green and then black, then it explodes into a black slurry of seeds and syrup. The color is so strong I find myself wond...
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering mimosas in Texas
July 08, 2008 - I have two mimosa trees, about 3 years old. Both were grown from volunteer seedlings. Neither have flowers nor have they produced seed pods. Are they too young or do they need a source of pollenation...
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