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 Trees Questions

Looking for a specimen shade tree in San Rafael, CA
June 04, 2013 - I'm looking for a specimen shade tree that can get 30'x30', that doesn't drop a bunch of crud (seeds, etc) on the patio (leaves are ok), medium to low water requirement, roots are behaved, zone 9,...
view the full question and answer

Trophy tree for Spicewood, Texas
September 30, 2008 - I want to plant a trophy Mesquite at the bottom of the hill, in Spicewood. I'm told that it may not flourish, because of the soil in my area. If that is the case, what would be a striking tree as a...
view the full question and answer

Cause of trees losing bark in Arkansas
December 27, 2011 - I live in very rural Arkansas and we did have extreme heat this past summer and since then I have noticed several trees in the woods that have lost huge strips of their bark and I was wondering if it ...
view the full question and answer

Care for oak acorns after planting from Huntsville TX
April 21, 2012 - I planted oak trees from acorns, how often and how much do I water them?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting crabapples in NJ
October 25, 2010 - I purchased a mature Red Baron crabapple in march of this year from a reputable nursery here in southern NJ. The tree was in the ground when I first viewed it, and since it was march and hadn't bloom...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center