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

Pruning a rough-leaf dogwood in spring
May 04, 2012 - Is it OK to trim a rough leaf dogwood now? Should I spray after trimming? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Old oak tree dropping leaves in Hazlet Township NJ
July 08, 2013 - I am 84 yrs old and have a 50 year old pin? oak. No more acorns, but the leaves are falling in clumps and are still alive. Every day I fill a huge garden bag with them. I live on a fixed income and...
view the full question and answer

Fertilizing oaks to produce more acorns
March 04, 2009 - What type of fertilizer would I use on oak trees to possibly increase growth and acorn production ? I have some flooded oak timber that is home to migrating ducks but there is little for them to eat.
view the full question and answer

Is Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) really native to the Texas Hill Country?
October 12, 2010 - I had heard that the Ashe Juniper was not native to the hill country or even Texas. Is this true? What is their history? They sure make it hard for the elms and oaks to thrive. We have decided to re...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center