Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 24, 2011

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the spring at all?

ANSWER:

The news is NOT good.   Trees all over Central Texas are dying—large trees, small trees and shrubs.  Around my neighborhood in Austin large red oaks and other trees are turning brown in lawns that have received at least a little watering—but, obviously not enough water.  The extended drought combined with the extreme temperatures this summer have greatly reduced the water tables and plants aren't able to extract any water from the parched land.   So, unless it begins raining soon and we receive enough rain to begin to replenish the underground water tables, I am afraid many trees will die.  This is not to say you should start cutting down your trees.  Deciduous trees can react to drought stress by losing their leaves early and becoming dormant.   If we do receive adequate rainfall soon, they could rejuvenate in the spring.  If they do survive and produce leaves in the spring, you need to be aware that one of the side effects of the drought is that the stress will make the trees more susceptile to disease and insect attack.  Please see the article from the "Continuing Severe Drought Conditions will Seriously Harm Trees" from the Texas Forest Service.  You can also read an excellent explanation from the University of Massachusetts Extension Service of how water is acquired and lost by trees and how the lack of water affects all aspect of the trees growth and health.  I do hope that at least some of your trees make it through the drought.

 

More Trees Questions

Planting a Willow Close to a Water Line
March 18, 2016 - I have a postage stamp-sized front yard, with the water tap in the front 1/3. I believe the water line runs right through the middle of my pss-front yard. I REALLY wanted to plant a weeping willow t...
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Trees to replace live oaks in Driftwood TX
February 07, 2012 - I am looking for ideas on what trees to plant in Driftwood, TX to replace live oaks that have been lost to oak wilt.
view the full question and answer

Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
September 16, 2013 - We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spart...
view the full question and answer

Dogwoods Late in Blooming
May 14, 2015 - We are seeing no evidence of flowers on two dogwoods this year. One usually is in bloom now, the other later on in the spring.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.