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
1 rating

Thursday - October 14, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergeii) weeping sap
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Help, help! Our Chinkapin Oak is weeping sap along the trunk. There is no sign of damage. What can we do?


Mr. Smarty Plants had a question of a similar nature several months ago and I consulted with Eric Beckers of the Texas Forest Service for his expert advice.  This is what he said:

"This sounds like wetwood, also known as slime flux, a bacterial disease that enters through a wound.  The pressure caused by the bacteria growing inside the tree usually produces a foaming weep that is very attractive to insects.  A healthy oak should be able to close the wound and shut down the bacterial ooze.  In the meantime, a periodic hosing down of the weep will cut down on insect activity and the pungent aroma."

It doesn't sound like a serious problem, but keep your eye on your Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak).  If it begins to show obvious signs of stress, it might be a good time to call in a professional arborist.  Here is more information on wet wood or slime flux from the Univeristy of Illinois.

Thanks for stopping by to visit Mr. Smarty Plants at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale last week.

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus muehlenbergii



More Trees Questions

Pros and cons of live oak leaves left on ground in Dripping Springs TX
February 20, 2013 - What are the pros or cons of leaving live oak leaves on the ground around trees or bushes?
view the full question and answer

Why are my Junipers turning brown in San Antonio?
May 11, 2009 - My Texas mountain cedars (junipers, I know) are turning brown, limb by limb. What is the problem and how do I save what looks like a dying tree.
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eastern hemlock in Greenville SC
July 02, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a beautiful, young, 5 and a half foot tall Eastern Hemlock. I purchased and planted it two years ago in the fall. It has been doing very well all this spring. And ne...
view the full question and answer

Safe time to trim live oak trees
June 20, 2008 - Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband...
view the full question and answer

Tree for wet area in Central Illinois
July 30, 2010 - I live in Central Illinois. When it rains I get a lot of water in my backyard. What kind of tree would be best to plant in this wet area?
view the full question and answer

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