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

Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Problems with Live Oak in Boerne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had my large Live Oak trimmed last year. This spring there seems to be a problem with leaf growth. Most leaves are small in nature and appear to have been attacked possibly by bugs. Many of the branches, especially at the top of the tree seem almost denuded of new growth. Can you help?

ANSWER:

If we were having this conversation person-to-person, the first thing we would ask you is "when was that tree trimmed?" Read on.

We are assuming your live oak is Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak), which is native to Texas and to the Hill Country. There are several things that could be causing the problems with your tree, and none of them are good. We are going to refer you to several sites where you can get more information, but we urge you to contact a professional arborist to come and look at the tree right away. Read this article on Oak Wilt from the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership. According to this Texas Forest Service list of contacts, Kendall County is in the Kerrville/San Antonio District. There is contact information for the Forest Service on that page. This map shows the Texas counties with Master Gardener/Master Naturalist Oak Wilt Specialists and also those with Oak Wilt active, which includes Kendall. We would suggest you contact the Kendall County Extension Office for more help.

You understand Oak Wilt is not the only thing that could be causing the problem in your live oak, but you need specialists on the spot to tell you that. And don't, whatever you do, trim or prune any live oak tree until at least mid-summer, and November 15 to January 15 would be better. Oak Wilt is spread by interconnected roots of oak trees but it is also spread by the nitiludid beetle. When an oak tree is damaged, even by pruning, it will exude sap which the beetle loves. If he has already been to a diseased tree and fed on the sap, he will have picked up some of the fungus that causes Oak Wilt on his body. If your tree is diseased, he will pick up the disease from the sap from it and take it to other oak trees. Please read all the information we have linked you to and act as soon as you can.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

More Pests Questions

Snails in my flower beds
May 06, 2009 - I live in Kingwood, Texas (north of Houston). I have been inundated with snails in my flower beds in my front & backyard. I really didn't want to use a pesticide, but they were eating all of my flo...
view the full question and answer

Tree leaves being chewed in Austin
July 04, 2009 - We planted a Texas Redbud tree, and Monterey Oak (Mexican White Oak) in the front yard this spring and both have had their leaves eaten or chewed by something I cannot find on their leaves. At first I...
view the full question and answer

What clips green twigs from cedar elms?
August 09, 2013 - Many small cuttings (3-5 inches long) are dropping from large cedar elm. To my eye the ends look like breaks (not chiseled), but I can't imagine what would cause so many breaks, and so think somethin...
view the full question and answer

Affect of poisonous plant roots in soils for vegetables from Rusk TX
May 11, 2013 - I have a huge old flowerbed in front of my house that I want to plant veggies in, but I'm afraid to. It has a catalpa tree there, which I sell the worms from, but the entire tree (bark, leaves, flowe...
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center