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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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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!

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Thursday - October 14, 2010

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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