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

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Bark splitting in old tulip tree in Red Creek, NY.
May 18, 2013 - Hello, We have a tulip tree that has some bark splitting I guess I would call it. The tree is older and very tall. On the north side of it starting at the bottom of the trunk to about 8-9 feet up i...
view the full question and answer

Tree for memorial in Levittown NY
August 09, 2010 - I am planning a tree planting memorial in Wantagh Park and I don't know what will be hardy enough to grow there. There are the constant breeze and salt water elements to deal with there and of course...
view the full question and answer

Removing leaves before transplanting from Miami
August 27, 2009 - What is good idea to remove some leaves before transplanting a plant??
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for a Southern California yard
July 08, 2011 - Hello I live in Irvine, CA and I am looking for a tree for our front yard. We recently planted oaks but they did not survive the clay soil. Our landscaper wants to replace them with oaks or with ...
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