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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - August 01, 2010

From: Round Rock, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Live oak with brown balls and brown spots in Round Rock PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is my live oak sick? Brown spots are on the leaves and round brown balls are growing on the stems. Please help.

ANSWER:

We're startled to even know there are live oaks in Pennsylvania. There is a Round Rock just north of Austin-did you possibly hit the wrong state? We could not find a single member of the Quercus (oak) genus with the name "live oak" among its common names that is known to grow in Pennsylvania. So, we'll just proceed on finding information about the problems you are having with your oak, whatever it is and wherever you are, and hope to get the answers you need. 

Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program has an online article on Round Balls on Live Oaks, which indicates it is caused by a small wasp, and should not be considered much of a threat to the tree.

Just about this time last year, we got a similar question about brown spots on oak leaves, see the previous answer.  This indicated water stress, too much or too little. Last year, when that question was written, the situation was definitely too little water and too hot; this year, we just now hit our first 100 degree day, on the first of August, and have had more rain than normal. 

You will note that both answers recommend contacting your local extension office. Since we're not sure where your extension office is, we are going to give you the contact information for the Texas AgriLIFE Extension Office for Travis County or Williamson County, Texas.

 

 

P.S. Google couldn't find a "Round Rock, PA" either

 

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