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

Monday - October 03, 2011

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Live oak bark splitting in Katy TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a 7 yr old live oak that looks like its bark is splitting open in branches and top leaves look wilted. If that sounds like oak wilt, do we need to have the tree removed? We live in a subdivision. Thank you very much,


From the USDA Forestry Service, here is an article on Identify, Prevent and Control Oak Wilt. Although it is pretty lengthy you should read it all, as it covers a lot of the questions about the spread of oak wilt. The source we usually turn to, of course, is the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership, in which the Wildflower Center is a partner. Again, lengthy, but worthwhile reading. The main thing you need to do is look for an expert who can actually see and, hopefully, diagnose the problem. On this website, going from the home page to Getting Help, and then to Forest Service Contacts, you will find a list of the Forest Service offices and contacts. In your case, contacting the Houston area is recommended:

Mickey Merritt
Texas Forest Service Urban Forester
2020 North Loop West, Suite 106
Houston, TX 77018

There are other things that can be wrong with your oak, but the Forest Service people will know that better than we do. Since you live in a subdivision, we are assuming there are other live oaks in your neighborhood. It is essential to make a diagnosis, especially if it IS Oak Wilt, just as quickly as possible, to prevent spread to other trees.


More Trees Questions

Arborvitae thinning in Bucks County, PA
April 09, 2010 - My arborvitae trees are about 11 ft. tall. I had them put in about 3 years ago. They were 8 to 10 ft. when planted. After the first year, I have noticed they are thinning to the point where you can se...
view the full question and answer

Care of a live oak with decay and perhaps fungus on trunk
July 14, 2011 - I have a huge live oak on my property in Salado that just lost a very large branch. The branch had decay in the center and also has a variety of bugs in it, espeically since it has been on the ground...
view the full question and answer

Permit to transport trees in Ivanhoe TX
December 02, 2010 - Do you have to have a special permit to transport trees on a semi truck and trailer in Texas? They are Texas grown trees, just going to a different location inside the state.
view the full question and answer

Yard Trees for Burleson, TX
July 24, 2011 - We need to replace 2 mature pear trees in our front yard, north side of the house in Burleson, TX. We are looking for faster growing trees that will last for decades that resist disease in clay soil....
view the full question and answer

Hill Country natives for a hedge
June 01, 2006 - Can you recommend a "hedge type" bush to use in lieu of a fence along the road in the San Antonio region? My whole back yard is planted with Hill Country natives and I would prefer to keep the the...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center