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

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

Grafting different colors of Tecoma from Casa Grand AZ
April 01, 2014 - Is it possible to graft different colors of tecoma and if yes, is the process same as process for grafting roses?
view the full question and answer

Windthrow Resistant Trees for Northeast Connecticut
January 07, 2011 - We live in northeast CT, and prefer to plant native trees. Many people here do not want trees around their homes, despite the benefits of shade and shelter they provide, because they are afraid of win...
view the full question and answer

Why are my potted Prunus caroliniana plants shedding leaves in LA, CA?
May 02, 2011 - I bought Prunus caroliniana in pots to use as privacy fence on my balcony. Have had them for about 6 weeks and they are shedding a lot of leaves. Some leave are drying out and others have what ...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing native trees for firewood in New Hampshire
September 25, 2008 - Can you tell me what FAST growing tree is best for a planned crop? We plan to generate new tree crops every year. We want to use this wood for burning in indoor wood stoves and maybe in an outdoor woo...
view the full question and answer

Do all tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower?
June 02, 2009 - Do all tulip trees flower? We planted a baby one about 5 years ago and its grown considerably however it has never flowered. Is that normal? Thank you!
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