Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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 Trees Questions

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
view the full question and answer

Medium-sized trees for Central Texas
October 25, 2013 - I need some help figuring out what 2 trees to plant to replace 2 trees that are being taken down on Monday. The input we've received from the company doing the tree cleanup is to go with a chinkapi...
view the full question and answer

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Will catalpa roots damage a nearby swimming pool?
July 13, 2013 - Will a catalpa tree cause problems to my swimming pool? It is 8 feet away and I cut all the branches off every fall. It then grows back to about 6 feet in diameter an makes a great garden feature but ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.