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 Trees Questions

Privacy Screening of House Next Door in NC
June 26, 2013 - Hello, I live in the house my parents bought in 1971 in Winston-Salem, NC. The house beside me is an eyesore and for sale at a very low price. I am afraid the condition of the house and yard next door...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Mountain laurel in Austin
September 11, 2009 - One of our 18+ year old Texas Mountain Laurels seems to be in distress this year. We treated it for caterpillars this Spring but many of the new leaves had been eaten by then. I recently started wate...
view the full question and answer

Dying Bigelow oaks in Austin
July 30, 2010 - I have several stands of Bigelow Oak (Q.sinuata var. breviloba) in NW Austin mixed with Yaupon and Cedar Elms. Several have died each year for the past 8 years. Two now have brown, dry leaves which is...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing shade tree for Canyon Lake, TX
November 02, 2012 - What is the best, fastest growing shade tree to plant in a residential yard about 1/2 block from the Guadelupe River in Sattler, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
September 14, 2008 - Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
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