En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Bark flaking off oaks in New Braunfels, TX

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

Monday - April 12, 2010

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bark flaking off oaks in New Braunfels, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have several large clusters of oak trees. Some of the trees are losing their bark. The bark is flaking off in fairly large pieces; even on some of the trees that are leafing out. Is this a result of the drought or a disease? Is there anything we can do to limit the progression of this process and keep them from dying? Thanks

ANSWER:

When you speak of "clusters," we wonder if you have mottes of live oaks, in which there is always danger of Oak Wilt infection, mostly by transmission through the interlocking root system. The Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), also called the Escarpment Live Oak, is native to the New Braunfels area and very susceptible to Oak Wilt infection. We suggest that the first thing you do is go to the site of the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership and read the various articles about identifying and controlling this damaging disease. Between February 15 and June 15 is the period when the Nitidulid beetle, which carries the fungus, is out looking for damaged oaks from which it can eat some nice sap. The fungus may not be the primary cause of the bark flaking off, but it will certainly be inviting to the fungus-carrying beetle.

We are not plant pathologists and, obviously, cannot see the trees. Live Oaks are far too valuable to take a chance on figuring out what is wrong with them from a distance. We suggest you contact a trained, licensed arborist who can first (hopefully) tell you what is causing the flaking bark and second (really hopefully) help you prevent an invasion of the Oak Wilt fungus. Within the website from the Texas Oak Wilt Partnership is this site on Texas  Counties with Master Gardeners/Master Naturalist Oak Wilt Specialists. Since New Braunfels is in two counties, and both of them have sites on the disease, you can contact them through these links. We would have recommended you contact them under any circumstances because they are closer to the situation and much more likely to know what is causing the bark to flake off. 

Texas A&M AgriLIFE extension office for Guadalupe County

Texas A&M AgriLIFE extension office for Comal County

There are also contacts for assistance from the Texas Forest Service. Those offices are for Comal County, in the Johnson City District and Kerrville/San Antonio District for Guadalupe County. 

 

More Trees Questions

Small tree to plant with high bush blueberry plants
May 13, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have four wonderful new highbush blueberry plants. I like to plant a native tree nearby to accent them, but cannot find a suitable one. I'd like a tree that is not going ...
view the full question and answer

Texas native mulberry tree
May 01, 2005 - My family recently moved to Kyle, TX (north of San Marcos, south of Austin). I am delighted to discover a dewberry tree in our yard. I have never heard of such a thing. Is this a common species?...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for Wilmington NC
May 22, 2010 - What kind of fast-growing tree would you plant in Wilmington, NC?
view the full question and answer

Should I purchase wax myrtle plants as liners or pots
July 18, 2011 - I want to buy some wax myrtle over internet.Place has wax myrtle "liners" They look very thin. Will these bushes grow quickly or should I spend more $ for 1 gallon plants. Just need a hedge fairly q...
view the full question and answer

Holly-like groundcover under live oak tree.
June 21, 2012 - I have looked and looked and cannot identify a wonderful groundcover holly growing in the shade beneath my 100 year old Live Oak here in Austin. I have looked up every possible Ilex variety and am stu...
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