En Español

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
3 ratings

Thursday - January 26, 2012

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Live oak leaves yellowing from Denton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In autumn of 2010 I planted 10 live oaks about 6 to 7 ft. tall. I have see that during the month of Dec. 2011 to Jan. 2012 they are showing some yellow leaves. What can I do to help them?

ANSWER:

There are a number of possible causes for yellow leaves. Aside from the fact that this has been a very hard year for heat and drought, there are several other things that can cause yellowing. If you just recently planted the oak, it could be suffering from transplant shock,

Yellowish leaves could indicate chlorosis, or lack of iron being taken up by the tree from the soil. This is often caused  by poor drainage and/or dense clay soil, which causes water to stand on the roots. Again, this could  be a problem caused by planting, perhaps without any organic material added to hole, or damage to the tiny rootlets that take up water and trace elements, including iron, from the soil. From a distance, we have no way of diagnosing your tree's problems, nor of recommending a solution. 

To us, the most likely, and simplest answer is that the live oaks are drought deciduous. The live oak is not a true evergreen, but drops all its leaves at once in the Spring, followed quickly by new leaves. Sometimes trees will drop some leaves early to take some of the load off the roots during periods of stress. Don't fertilize any stressed plant. Fertilizer just pushes a plant to put on more leaves, when it is struggling to survive. Unless there is some other problem you didn't mention, we recommend patience. Hopefully, the tree will drop all of it leaves soon, and pop back with fresh new ones.

 

More Trees Questions

Mountain laurel with fasciation
July 24, 2014 - My Texas Mountain Laurel bush has developed several "crested branches." What causes this, is it harmful & how do I get rid of them??? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Late leafing and early leaf-drop of Ohio buckeye tree
October 28, 2005 - We recently bought a house which has an ohio buckeye tree in the back yard. It stands about 40 feet from a large creek in Troy, Ohio. The tree is about 30 feet tall. A strip of the bark is missing....
view the full question and answer

Tahitian gardenias (Gardenia taitensis) salt and wind resistance in Hawaii
February 03, 2006 - Are Tahitian Gardenias salt tolerant? We live on a rocky coastline in Hawaii and we get a lot of salt spray.
view the full question and answer

Germinating Mexican Persimmon seeds in Austin, TX.
November 15, 2011 - I'm planning to germinate Mexican Persimmon seeds, and plant them this spring. I want a female for fruit. Is there any way to encourage a plant to be female, and if not, is there any way you can iden...
view the full question and answer

Mulching tree root in San Angelo, TX
April 02, 2014 - San Angelo, Texas is in a drought stage. Will it help our trees to mulch the base of them?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center