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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 06, 2010

From: Conroe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Need information about oak wilt and Shumard oak in Houston, Tx.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I want to plant a Shumard red oak in my North Houston front yard, with two Nuttall oaks. I keep hearing about something call oak wilt. Is there something I can do to prevent this disease during the planting process? Should I do prevention for all three trees? I am planning the planting job for October. Thanks


This "something called oak wilt" is one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States, and is killing oak trees in central Texas in epidemic proportions. Oak wilt is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees. The Shumard oak Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak)  and the Nuttall oak Quercus texana (Texas red oak) are particularly susceptible to this disease. Mr. Smarty Plants suggests reading the material from the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership and the Texas Forest Service before you proceed with your plans to plant these trees.The Texas Forest  Service also has a Texas Tree Selector feature on their website that can be useful in selecting trees that are suited for Harris County. Another source of help is the Harris County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service.



More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Leaves dropping on evergreen sumac in San Antonio
January 11, 2012 - I have a large evergreen sumac in my back yard that started off as a small shrub 10 years ago. This summer the leaves turned red and now have dropped off. Is the plant dead? It sent out two smaller pl...
view the full question and answer

Shade Loving Plants for Under a Black Walnut Tree in Rochester, NY.
May 09, 2015 - Please advise on plants that will grow in the shade under a black walnut tree in Rochester, NY.
view the full question and answer

Problems with Copper Canyon Daisy from Austin
June 08, 2014 - We had 3 copper canyon daisies. Two of them bloomed profusely last year, but only one has come back this spring. We cut them all back as instructed. When it was clear that two were not coming back, we...
view the full question and answer

Is my Crimson queen maple dying?
October 20, 2015 - Is my Crimson queen maple dying if it's leaves are turning brown?
view the full question and answer

Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
August 14, 2013 - I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center