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 - November 20, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Black spots and fuzzy circles on live oak leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We live in Georgetown Texas and have many Live Oaks on our property. Lately some leaves have fallen off which have fuzzy round circles on the back along with some little raised black dots. Should we be alarmed?


The fuzzy yellow growths on the underside of the leaves are most likely galls caused by a tiny wasp.  Acraspis erinacei, Andricus quercusflocci, Andricus quercuslanigera, Andricus laniger, Andricus fullawayi and Andricus ignotus are all gall wasps that produce fuzzy galls on oaks.  The galls aren't likely to affect the health of your trees at all so there is really no need to do anything about them.

The black spots are probably caused by a fungus.  There are several that affect Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak) and Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak); but, like those with the insect galls, unless they are heavily infested there is no need to treat them.  Here is some information from Florida Department of Agriculture about tar spot caused by the fungus, Trabutia quercina.  You can read about common diseases of oaks from the Neighborhood Association of Southwestern Williamson County and here is Dr. Jerry Parsons', the Bexar County Extension Agent, take on problems with live oaks in Texas.  If your infestation is severe enough that you think treatment is necessary, contact your Williamson County AgriLife Extension office to ask for their advice on treatment.


More Trees Questions

Trees for privacy shield in Dublin, Virginia
April 16, 2009 - What are the best trees to plant for privacy in a small yard?
view the full question and answer

Mulching in deep shade in Round Rock TX
June 22, 2010 - Central Texas: Problem is deep shade and high temps. I noted your advice about danger to the tree when planting beneath shade trees, but wonder if there is a substance - perhaps pine needles - that co...
view the full question and answer

ID of insects attacking a Mexican Plum in Austin, TX
May 11, 2015 - I live in south austin and have a young 6' tall mexican plum. For the third year in a row it is getting eaten by small green 'leaf-rolling' worms. The destruction the past 2 years was so bad there ...
view the full question and answer

Tahitian gardenias (Gardenia taitensis) salt and wind resistance in Hawaii
February 03, 2006 - Are Tahitian Gardenias salt tolerant? We live on a rocky coastline in Hawaii and we get a lot of salt spray.
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming parsley hawthorn in Madison MS
April 25, 2010 - I have a parsley hawthorn that has never bloomed. It is thriving in a low area under tall pines. It gets filtered sun most of the day with more direct sun in late afternoon. I don't know the age but...
view the full question and answer

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