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

Problems with non-native Cleyera and Red-tip photinia
June 01, 2008 - I planted a row of Cleyera in a bed that receives sunlight for about 3 hours during the middle of the day. My problem is that a number of the plants are dying. It begins with the leaves on one small...
view the full question and answer

Problems with October Glory maple tree in Evansville IN
June 10, 2010 - We have a 15 yr. old October Glory maple tree. 2 years ago we had a bad ice storm and this tree was covered with 1/2 to 3/4 " of ice. The tree resembled a chicken wishbone with its limbs touching ...
view the full question and answer

What to do with a sickly American elm in Austin, Texas
September 27, 2010 - I have an American elm that is about 6 feet tall in my yard. It is has not grown quickly this year--as compared to another American Elm that I have in another spot that is about 3 feet tall and has m...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mountain Laurel in Leander TX
June 15, 2009 - My 13 yr old Mountain Laurel tree is sick. It has lost most of its leaves after blooming this spring. The twigs seem to still be pliable so I assume alive. I saw no moth worms or bags this year, ju...
view the full question and answer

Hibiscus wilt in Texas Star hibiscus
November 10, 2005 - I have a Texas star hibiscus on my deck. It flourished all summer, but not quite a month ago, the leaves turned yellow and fell off. Will it come back? What happened???
view the full question and answer

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