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

Tuesday - December 08, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Live oak trees dropping leaves in clumps
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have several large mature Live Oak trees in our Austin TX neighborhood. Now that the rains have come back and the acorns are falling, two of our four trees are also dropping large amounts of leaves in clumps connected to small twigs. I do not see this happening in our neighbors yards. At first I attributed it to stress, but now I'm a bit worried. Both are near the house built 30 years ago. The oak trees are clear of the house.

ANSWER:

The good news is that what you describe doesn't sound like oak wilt, a serious problem with live oak trees in the Austin area.  You can read about the characteristics of oak wilt from the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership. We assume that you've ruled out squirrels.  Squirrels do sometimes knock off clumps of leaves in their enthusiasm for collecting acorns. Your trees may be showing the stress from the recent drought and sudden weather change or it is possible that they are being attacked by Oncideres cingulata (twig girdler). Here is an image of the insect. In actuality, we can't really diagnose your problem sight unseen.  If your trees are still losing large numbers of leafy clumps, you may want to ask an arborist to take a look at your trees. Here are several links to sites that can help find a qualified arborist in the Austin area:

Evaluating and Choosing an Arborist  

Web Search Tool to find an Arborist 

Site to Learn About and Find a Consulting Arborist

 

More Trees Questions

Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
April 20, 2012 - I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?
view the full question and answer

Bark damage to Tulip Tree
August 10, 2006 - I have a tulip tree planted. It is about 9-10 years old. Two years ago the tree looked as though the trunk was cracked. Maybe hit by lightning after a storm. This year the bark on the side of tree...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
April 22, 2014 - My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.
view the full question and answer

Illegal to remove an orange blossom from ground in Florida from Atlantis FL
March 28, 2012 - Is there any law that prevents someone from removing an orange blossom from the ground in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Treating suspected drought-stressed live oak
July 13, 2011 - I have a live oak with excessive leaf drop - it was planted approx. 20 year ago surrounded by heavy pavers. very little grass - I did not plant the tree - I have noticed in the last few years the dro...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center