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

Tuesday - June 14, 2011

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to Oak Wilt from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live near Drippings Springs, TX. Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to the spread of oak wilt?


No, particularly if you stay after them, but don't accidentally bang against the bark of the parent tree with a lawnmower or weedeater. A wound of that sort will result in the seepage of sap from the tree, which will attract the nitiludid beetle which transmits the oak wilt fungus on his body when he has been feeding at an infected tree.

It is recommended that any pruning wound that is bigger around than your thumb be painted with pruning paint. If they are really seedlings, growing from dropped acorns, you can probably pull them out, but what you are probably seeing is sprouts from the parent root. Left unattended, some of these sprouts will develop into satellite trees, thus forming the motte of live oaks that is so often seen in natural settings. Unfortunately, oak wilt can also be spread through roots that intertwine and ultimately grow together. These connections arise from grafting or from common root systems formed during vegetative propagation by root sprouts. 



More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Mystery pest eating portulaca blooms
July 02, 2006 - I'm from Texas and I purchased some portulaca from a local nursery about three weeks ago and planted them in the front yard....with plenty of sun. Here's the problem. The foliage seems very health...
view the full question and answer

Why is my recently planted Esperanza doing poorly in Texas City, TX?
May 28, 2010 - I have an Esperanza I planted about 2 months ago. It has been doing well, except today all but one stem of the plant is wilting and the leaves are rolling. I see no bugs on the plant. Any idea what...
view the full question and answer

Cottony infestation on Turk's Cap in Austin
July 05, 2010 - The Turks Cap in my front planter is well-established and, overall, happy and blooming. However, some of the top leaves, those in the most shaded area, have what looks like a thin, loose layer of cot...
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Ficus pumila on Stucco Walls
October 06, 2015 - Can the creeping fig vine damage the stucco covered walls?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center