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

Saturday - November 21, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 cracked. Is there any way to save this tree? It bloomed this year, but the leaves were much smaller than the other trees on the same street. We've never seen such severe cracking on this tree. What should we do? Do we need to fertilize it or is it a lost cause? I'd love to send photos if at all possible.

ANSWER:

If you would like to send us photos, go to our Plant Identification page and get instructions for sending us pictures. Acer rubrum var. drummondii (Drummond's maple) is shown in this  USDA Plant Profile with  Houston a little out of native area of the Drummond red maple in Texas, but that has little to do with whether or not the plant survived a hurricane.

We have had a number of questions from people who lost trees to Hurricane Ike. The previous answer that comes the closest to yours concerned a live oak, but the situation was very similar.  Even with pictures, we would probably not be able to make a good diagnosis of your tree's problems, except "hurricane damage," which you already know. To replant a tree that has been violently uprooted is almost always unsuccessful. So much damage is done to the tiny little rootlets that draw water and nutrients from the soil, the tree may struggle on for a while, as yours has, but the outlook is not good. And certainly, fertilizing is the wrong thing to do; you should never fertilize a tree under stress, as yours surely is. 

We would suggest you see this article from the Texas Forest Service Hurricane Ike Response and Recovery. Then go to their Home Page where you will find links to, among others, "Landowners." This Home Page lists contact information, including e-mail. We don't know exactly the extent to which they can help you, but it certainly looks like a good place to start. 


 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Live oak with brown balls and brown spots in Round Rock PA
August 01, 2010 - Is my live oak sick? Brown spots are on the leaves and round brown balls are growing on the stems. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Goldsturm Rudbeckia Stunted and Doesn't Bloom
April 16, 2015 - I have Goldsturm Rudbeckia that never flowers nor gets taller than 4 inches. Meanwhile, my phlox does fantastic in the same area. This area is sand top dressed with black dirt. Please help! Goldst...
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on Cherry Laurel in Boulder City, NV
January 29, 2011 - I live in Boulder City, Nevada and have 4 cherry laurel trees. I'm having a hard time with brown leaves and loss of leaves. How much water should I give them each season? Temps run from 28 degrees to...
view the full question and answer

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
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