En Español

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?

Share

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - December 16, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Larvae infesting Mexican white oak
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Eric Beckers

QUESTION:

What larvae/worm would dwell and eat the inside of a Mexican White Oak? I planted one last November and it was doing great. The bark started cracking towards the bottom but the top was very full & green with plenty of new growth. One day I found it had snapped in two at the bottom of the trunk and there were many white larvae worms inside!! I always thought of them as pretty pest resistant. Thoughts? What could it be and how do I treat it? Also, I planted another one in the front yard on the same date. How do I know if it's infested?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants consulted Eric Beckers with the Texas Forest Service about the problem with your Quercus polymorpha (Mexican white oak).  We don't know for sure what insects the "many white larvae worms" were; but we do believe that whatever they were (borers, ants, etc.) that they were acting on a previously damaged tree. Newly planted nursery stock are often afflicted with mechanical injuries or sun scald and these minor problems can turn bad when a borer or other insect sets up shop.  Rough handling, bruises, tight wraps/ties, etc., are locations where borers seek entry.  Newly planted trees are all too often damaged by weed whips and mowers and insects take over the nice cavities left behind.  Anyway, the problem is probably restricted to the one tree, unless the other was similarly damaged.  You should carefully inspect the other tree and if you do see damage, you might want to contact a professional arborist.

 

More Trees Questions

Plants under an oak tree from Corpus Christi TX
June 30, 2012 - My project: To grow white turk's cap under an old oak tree I first planted St. Augustine sod this spring because we had many oak suckers around the tree. We mixed new soil and compost, and laid the ...
view the full question and answer

Pests on Fan Tex Ash
July 30, 2015 - We planted a Fan Tex Ash last year on our property. It's doing very well, but there are a lot of large stink bugs, yellow jackets and red wasps on it daily. We cannot seem to find any information on ...
view the full question and answer

Buds disappearing from magnolia in New Jersey
February 04, 2012 - I live in New Jersey.I planted my 5.gal Vulcan magnolia in December. It came with 4 big buds and 3 small buds.I planted in good location where it gets lots of sun. The tree is well settled and looked ...
view the full question and answer

Insects along branches of cedar elm
April 14, 2011 - I have a 10 foot Cedar Elm planted three years ago. The smaller branches have what looks like incubating red pellet-like insects in a soft, putty colored glob--one insect per glob. They are all alon...
view the full question and answer

Problems with post oaks in Milam Co., TX
October 26, 2009 - I have an old ranch in Milam County, Texas on the Brazos River with several large, old Post Oaks. Recently a few of these grand old trees have lost large branches and two have died. One has died, poss...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center