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

Tuesday - May 25, 2010

From: cedar park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: What is eating the leaves of my oak tree in Cedar Park, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

This one has a couple of arborists stumped. I have clusters of small, light-colored worms on the leaves of an oak tree, but no tents or webs. They are eating the chlorophyll in the leaves, leaving the leaf intact, but white with a gauze-like appearance. I have not been able to find any information online. Can you help? Thank You.

ANSWER:

Nice pun.

The worms you are seeing are most likely the larval stage of a group moths known as leafminers. The female lays eggs on the lower surface of the leaf, and when they hatch , the larvae bore inside the leaf and make mines by clearing out the leaf tissue inside the leaf. The second instar is larger and works on the surface of the leaf eating the epidermal cells. This is what makes the leaf transparent. Since the attack is on an oak tree, there are three species that are possible culprits; the Solitary Oak Leafminer (Cameraria hamadryadella), the Gregarious Oak Leafminer (Cameraria cincinnatiella), and the Oak Skeletonizer (Bacculatrix ainsiella).   

Because we are Botanists and our ability to identify insects is limited, I suggest that you contact an Entomologist at the Texas Forest Service for a positive ID of your insect.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Problem with Arizona Ash in Leander TX
March 10, 2011 - What would make my otherwise healthy Arizona Ash tree, that was doing so well last year, only bud out on just one side?
view the full question and answer

Update on controlling live oak suckers with newspapers, cardboard and mulch
September 12, 2014 - Can we get an update on the march 2011 topic of live oak suckers? I am wondering if the newspaper/cardboard/mulch layers continued to take care of the problem. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Disappearance of leaves on desert willow in Tucson AZ
August 08, 2009 - We have a Lois Adams Desert Willow (Tucson, Az). The leaves will pump out and then a day or so later, all of the leaves are gone. The only bugs we've seen on it are very, very small ants. Could this ...
view the full question and answer

Need a shade tree for front yard in Fredricksburg, TX.
July 16, 2012 - I live in Fredericksburg, Tx. I have a large front yard, but only one huge pecan tree in the front yard that is probably 18 years old. It shades half the yard. I want to plant another shade tree for t...
view the full question and answer

Effects of patio under large tree
July 17, 2008 - I would like to put in a patio under a fairly large tree. I understand a tree needs some open ground around it for air and water. Can I use flagstone leaving 6-10 inches of space between the stones?...
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