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?

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
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

Thursday - February 03, 2011

From: West Lake Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have lost up to 30% of their leaves and the largest one has dropped 90% of its leaves and is now nearly barren. Is this one dying? Are they in temporary shock? Should I be doing anything for them or just wait 'til Spring? Hoping for help and praying for good news. Thank you

ANSWER:

You were right to employ a reputable tree company to care for your trees.  Because trees add so much value - monetary and aesthetic - to our homes, we always advise folks to seek the help of certified arborists to care for their trees.

The trimming your arborist did to the tops of your trees in the fall did not cause your live oaks to go into shock.  If any major changes occured in the trees' root zones in the past year that could have caused shock.

Whenever we hear about sudden large-scale leafdrop on live oaks in central Texas, our first concern is Oak Wilt Disease.  The leaves of Oak Wilt infected live oaks will show classic signs of veinal necrosis.  If no leaves have these yellowed or orange veins, you can probably rule out Oak Wilt.

Live oaks, usually considered evergreen, are actually deciduous trees that just happen to drop the past year's leaves at the same time their new leaves are emerging.  This usually happens around the beginning of March in your area.  However, some trees can drop leaves earlier for a variety of reasons.  To be sure, we again recommend having a certified arborist visit with you and your trees to evaluate them and their health.

 

More Trees Questions

Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
January 31, 2011 - What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.
view the full question and answer

Native trees that will thrive in Amarillo, TX
April 04, 2010 - I need help in finding native Texas trees that will do well in Amarillo's low water and extreme temps.
view the full question and answer

Identity of tree with fragrant yellow flowers and thorns
June 06, 2013 - I'm not sure if this is a native plant. It's a tree, around 15" tall. The leaves are in bunches with 3-4 very sharp small spines at each bunch. Flowers are small, yellow, hang down from the leaf...
view the full question and answer

Cypress trees near pool in Winter Park FL
August 17, 2012 - I live in Winter Park (Orlando) Florida. I have been gifted two potted cypress trees that I need to get into the ground. The only place I can plant them is in my backyard in between a stand of non-inv...
view the full question and answer

Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
May 02, 2013 - Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center