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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 07, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Watering, Trees
Title: Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball moss. If we remove the moss, the limbs break off which I think makes the tree vulnerable to oak wilt. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

Lets start with the Oak Wilt. You didn’t say what kind of oaks you have, but as you probably know, some oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than others. Here is a link to help you become more familiar with oak wilt.

The ball moss Tillandsia recurvata (Small ball moss) is not causing any harm to the tree even though it is unsightly. I would just leave it alone until the weather gets cooler in the fall. This previously answered question has tips for controlling ball moss.

For information about caring for trees in the current drought, see this previously answered question.




 

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