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?


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

Saturday - July 24, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Damaged Shumard oak tree in Polk County Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a native Shumard Red Oak on our property in Polk County Texas that suffered damage (top blown out) during Hurricane Ike. Last year, one side of the tree browned early while the other side stayed green. This spring the tree budded equally and developed a pretty even canopy. Now (early July) the same side of the tree is starting to brown as last year. The tree does receive water from our sprinkler system but it is on a slope that drains. Any suggestions


Of course, oakwilt is a serious concern in Texas and Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) is especially susceptible to oak wilt. However, the fact that the the brown leaves that fell last year came back green for a time in the spring, probably means your tree doesn't have oak wilt.  Oak wilt in red oaks usually kills the tree rather quickly—within 3 or 4 weeks.  There are other diseases that affect oaks and other deciduous trees in general and specific ones that affect Shumard oaks, but according to University of Florida IFAS Extension Service other pests or diseases aren't generally serious.  Unfortunately, we aren't experts on oak diseases and can't diagnose your tree's problem from afar. If you want to save your trees, you should consider hiring a certified professional arborist who can look at your tree and determine what is causing your problem and how to solve it.

The Texas Forest Service has a page, Storm Recovery for Trees Public Service Announcements (PSA), with helpful messages about tree damage after hurricanes and other storms.


More Trees 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

When is Texas mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) mature
October 08, 2007 - Can you tell me the life cycle for the native Texas mesquite? I have found one source that says it matures in 2-5 years, but no other sources confirm this. We are hoping to classify mesquite flooring ...
view the full question and answer

Distance of oak tree to existing driveway in San Antonio
July 07, 2009 - How close can I plant a live oak tree (15 gal) next to an existing driveway. I have about 3 feet space to plant between a fence and a driveway. This is the best spot to provide future shade. My concer...
view the full question and answer

What are the pines growing at South Padre Island, Texas
November 20, 2011 - Hi, On a recent trip to South Padre Island, we noticed a large number of beautiful long leaf pines. I asked several residents what the name was but no one knew. I have searched and googled trying...
view the full question and answer

Controlling native chickasaw plum
July 23, 2008 - How do we kill the chickasaw plum? We have an abundance and want to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center