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 Trees Questions

Trees for townhome backyard in Fullerton, CA
August 15, 2009 - Hi, I live in a townhome with a big backyard here in Orange County. Last year, I got rid of my ficus trees that had grown too tall and big for a townhome backyard. Now, I would like to plant two tre...
view the full question and answer

Eastern Redbud Flowers and Leaves Dried Up
June 12, 2014 - I have a young Eastern Redbud that started blooming last year. This year blossoms formed and leaves started to come, but now they are all dried up. What might have caused this?
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Persimmon in enclosed planter from San Angelo TX
May 23, 2013 - I want to plant a Texas Persimmon (in West Texas) in an enclosed planter 4' X 4' X 2.5' deep. What would be a good planting medium. Does it need to be deeper?
view the full question and answer

Speed of growth of quercus agrifolia from Torrance CA
September 20, 2012 - I planted a quercus agrifolia in my front yard about 2 years ago without considering its ultimate size (it's about 10 feet from the sidewalk and 10 feet from our house). The tree is growing really fa...
view the full question and answer

Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin
January 14, 2011 - We live in Northwest Austin, near 183 and Anderson Mill. Our neighbor recently cut down all their trees in their backyard, which provided nice afternoon shade for us. We would like to re-plant some ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center