Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Sunday - December 26, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Trees
Title: Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.

ANSWER:

You are correct, it is never a good idea to allow any sort of mulch, which would include fallen leaves, to collect against the trunk of a tree. This is a good hiding place for insects and fungi which mean your tree no good. If you have the space, they would be good ingredients for composting, but even then, compost should be used as a soil additive, not allowed to pile up again a tree trunk.

 

More Trees Questions

Narrow, Small Tree for Austin, Texas Yard
December 17, 2015 - I need recommendation on what type of tree to plant between our neighbors and our home. The wall to wall space is 15 feet at best, with a fence in between. Currently we have a young mulberry but are b...
view the full question and answer

Location of Alamo fungicide kit from Georgetown TX
July 03, 2012 - Where can I buy the Alamo fungicide injection kit shown in the oak wilt video?
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress knees in leachfield from Ventura CA
March 20, 2013 - Hey, I planted a seedling 20+ years ago which has turned out to be a 40'bald cypress that's now 40'. I'm a native southerner and would hate to cut it down but it's putting up knees in my septic s...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for clay soil in Lathrop MO
March 21, 2011 - My family just moved to the north Kansas City, MO area and would like to know what native species, both perennial and tree, will do best in the clay soil. It has already proven problematic as we have ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of oak wilt or iron deficiency
September 04, 2007 - This spring my two oak trees, 4" and 7" in diameter, in my yard in Kyle started showing very light green leaves with green veins. I've been told this is chlorosis, so I treated them with a couple o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.