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

Wednesday - February 15, 2012

From: Joshua, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problems with volunteer tree in Joshua TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 'volunteer' tree which has been in our back yard for about 15 years. It has had the usual traumas, ie. lots of snow, ice, etc. but after last years drought, its bark is coming off and several parts of the tree have died. There appears to be new growth at the bottom of the tree and I can see some new growth on the trunk, but should I go ahead and remove the sections which appear dead?

ANSWER:

Here is a link to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on bark damage. It is from Arkansas but it has good generic information on your problem. Included are more links on the subject.

Beyond that, we really don't have enough information for us to give you much help. You say it's a volunteer, but it has been there for 15 years. It could be a non-native to North America which would put it out of the purview of Mr. Smarty Plants. It could be one of the "fast-growing" but short-lived plants that are frequently sold in nurseries.  Have you seen others of this tree in your neighborhood? Perhaps you could find out from the owners of the other property what they are. Is the area where the tree grows ever watered, or has it had to tough it out in the drought?

Consider contacting the Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Johnson Co. Ask them what you need to bring in (twigs, leaves, etc) to see if they can identify it

You are the only one that can make the decision about whether to remove dead portions or the whole tree. Does it appear to be a valuable tree, especially in your particular garden? Has this damage been going on for a long time? We would recommend that you call in a trained, licensed arborist. In the first place, he/she should be able to tell you what the tree is, whether it's worth keeping, whether it can be treated, etc. If the advice is to take the tree out of your landscape, we recommend that you engage the arborist to do that for you. Felling a large tree in an urban environment is often more than a homeowner can handle and the tree service would probably be less expensive than the hospital bills or the cost of a damaged roof or replacing other plants. 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Yellow, pale green leaves on Cedar Elms in Texas
August 30, 2008 - I have had several cedar elms of various sizes planted in our yard over the last 10 years. Only the largest has dark green, healthy looking leaves. All the others have yellowish, pale green leaves. Th...
view the full question and answer

Keeping dogs and cats out of flower gardens
March 02, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions to keep the cats and dogs out of my flower garden? They either just walk through it, and trample everything, or sleep on the soft blooms and squish everything. I am despe...
view the full question and answer

Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
July 02, 2014 - My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, wi...
view the full question and answer

Need help controling suckers from an ornamental plum in San Pedro, CA.
August 10, 2010 - I have an ornamental plum tree in my garden which produces a lot of suckers in my vegetable beds. I do not want to use harmful chemicals and cutting them back is a hopeless venture and leaves small...
view the full question and answer

Peach tree problems in Long Island, NY
June 16, 2008 - This year my peachtree is bearing fruit for the first time. I live in Long Island NY. I notice a sap on the bark near the soil. Also some leaves are getting disease looking and some peaches are loo...
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