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?

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
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 - 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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) refuses to bloom
March 07, 2008 - We have a Texas Mountain Laurel that gets full sunlight, but does not bloom. It is 4-5 ft tall & 3-4 ft wide & healthy. Is there anything we can do to make it bloom next year?
view the full question and answer

Identification of gooseberry plant
July 12, 2007 - Grew up in Colorado, our yard and several near us had medium to large size deciduous shrubs that produced small (.25"-.375") red berries that were very tomato-like. Delicate with a thin skin, sligh...
view the full question and answer

Lantana isn't blooming in Leander, TX.
August 03, 2011 - I bought a small potted New Gold Lantana about 2-1/2 weeks ago. I planted it in full sun and covered it with mulch. The few original flowers have fallen off. Although, I see a couple of new buds, ...
view the full question and answer

Effect of heavy rains on Lindheimer Muhly
May 04, 2015 - It is April 2015, in San Antonio we've had very heavy rains recently. My Lindheimer muhly, which was looking beautiful, has now turned brown all over. Is this normal or is this a problem?
view the full question and answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013 - Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center