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

Saturday - June 11, 2011

From: Lott, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Live oak trees and possible drought stress in Lott, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


One of our Live Oak trees is losing leaves in only a portion of it. I have researched Oak Wilt and I am not sure that is what it has. We have trees that are hundreds of years old and was wondering if the dry conditions could be contributing to this. I have not watered them very much because of where they are. We live in the country and they are in the back of our land.


Mr. Smarty is going to suggest that you contact the folks at the Falls County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension to get a “boots on the ground” assessment of the situation. Oak wilt is always a consideration with Live Oaks, but one of the indicators are fairly distinctive, eg venal necrosis. This link to the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership (you may have already seen it) has lots of information about this disease.

The current drought certainly is putting stress on mature oaks, and could be part of the problem you are experiencing. This answer to a previous question has some useful information about water stress.

SInce the damage sounds like it is localized, a possible cause that I have learned about only recently is squirrels. For some unknown reason, squirrels will strip the bark from limbs and trunks of various kinds of trees, including oaks. The resulting damage can cause the limbs to die and loose their leaves. This link describes the situation.

It is important to get an on site evaluation of your problem to find appropriate solution.




More Trees Questions

Wild native trees with orange blooms
March 30, 2012 - What is the wild native tree that is blooming orange blooms - as you drive down the road thru Chappel Hill, and Brenham area. I've never seen these before when we went viewing bluebonnets - however,...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Eve's Necklace from Round Mountain TX
April 16, 2013 - We have dozens of small Eve's necklace plants coming up in our large yard. I would like to share them with my friends who aren't so lucky. Many years ago, I tried to transplant one, and it didn't...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
December 16, 2007 - Lately, I've been seeing references to a tree/shrub called a "lemon cypress tree". It looks like a standard Italian cypress, but the foilage is yellow. I cannot find any reference to this plant e...
view the full question and answer

Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
August 08, 2011 - If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
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