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

Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Weeping live oak and beetles in Elgin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a live oak that I just noticed is weeping from a small spot about 3' above ground, foamy and smells like beer, several beetle species attracted. Also some very small insects in the foamy area.


Oh, dear, we hate to hear that. Tis the season, I guess. Because we just answered a very similar question, we are going to largely repeat it to save time. Read on.

We are assuming your live oak is Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak), which is native to Texas and to Central Texas. 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, Elgin, in Travis County, is in the Austin area. 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 Travis and Bastrop. We would suggest you contact the Travis County or the Bastrop County Extension Office for more help.

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.


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with crossvine from Semmes AL
January 06, 2013 - I have a 3 year old cross vine (tangerine beauty) and the leaves have started turning black and falling off the plant. I have two plants growing on the same pergola (opposite ends) and the second plan...
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

Non-native blue potato bush in El Dorado Hills CA
June 12, 2010 - I have two blue potato bush topiary planted in my front porch in a very big planter. It's getting a full afternoon sun. I am wondering why they are losing their leaves??? Am I overwatering them??? Al...
view the full question and answer

Yellow, pale green leaves on Cedar Elms in Texas
August 30, 2008 - I have had several cedar elms of various sizes planted in our yard over the last 10 years. Only the largest has dark green, healthy looking leaves. All the others have yellowish, pale green leaves. Th...
view the full question and answer

Live oak with brown balls and brown spots in Round Rock PA
August 01, 2010 - Is my live oak sick? Brown spots are on the leaves and round brown balls are growing on the stems. Please help.
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center