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

Thursday - July 05, 2012

From: Lockhart, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Texas Ash secreting sap in Lockhart, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have what I believe is a Texas Ash in my front yard that is secreting a sap with what looks like some wounds on it with some white stuff and with black and red looking ants as well as it has a lot of butterflies that visits it. Someone told me that it looks like some kind of disease. We have had a few trees taken down in our neighborhood and I thought maybe it was because of this same disease. What should we be doing for this? I have another tree like it beside it and I don't want it getting the same disease. Thanks for your time,

ANSWER:

It's usually not possible to positively diagnose a disease or disorder based on a description.

A common cause of oozing sap during the summer months is the egg-laying activities of some species of cicadas, katydids, grasshoppers and other insects.  The females of these species have sword-shaped appendages called ovipositors used for piercing the bark of trees and shrubs and laying their eggs in the relative safety of those confines.  The piercing of the bark often results in copious secretion of sap through the nearly-invisible slits.  These wounds are usually more of a nuisance than anything, but large numbers of wounds can cause serious harm or death to the tree.

However, we cannot rule out a disease or other cause of the problem you describe.  The ants and butterflies you're seeing on your tree are likely just there to sip at the oozing sap.

Trees are valuable assets and it's usually worth the expense of hiring a certified arborist to consult with to find the exact cause of the problem and to recommend an appropriate course of action.

 

 

More Pests Questions

Problem with Eupatorium greggii
April 27, 2008 - At the Garden's fall plant sale in 2006, I bought some Eupatorium greggii. It did very well last year. Recently, the entire plant looks like it is just wilting from the top down, as if it has some so...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Shumard Oaks and Crepe Myrtle in Cooke Co. TX
September 07, 2013 - I have a Shumard Oak Tree that has been in the ground approx. ten years. It has done great, even passing up some of my older Shumards. In August it began to lose its leaves at an alarming rate. They a...
view the full question and answer

Plants to repel mosquitoes from Leander TX
May 19, 2013 - What are the best plant for repelling mosquitoes in the Leander area? The land here is hilly and rocky.
view the full question and answer

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

Termites found in dying/dead plants
March 19, 2009 - Recently I have noticed that when investigating native plants that have passed on, such as my deceased Erythrina herbacea, often times I find termites in the remaining central stem. It has been extre...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center