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?


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: Spicewood,, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Texas Mountain Laurel oozing sap in Spicewood, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus


We have a Texas mountain laurel that seems to be sweating. Oozing sap with no apparent signs of any type of bore holes, or holes made from any birds.


Your Texas Mountain Laurel has likely been visited by some egg-laying insects.  Cicadas and Katydids are common causes of sap-oozing on trees and shrubs during the summer months.  Females of many of these insects have very sharp, sword-shaped appendages called ovipositors with which they pierce the surface of tree trunks and stems and lay their eggs beneath.  This piercing leaves a razor-thin wound in the bark of the plant that is nearly invisible, but through which sometimes copious amounts of sap may ooze.

Most plants have little ill-effect from being violated in this way.  However, large-scale ovipositing by some insect species can harm or even kill some plants.

Contact your AgriLife Extension Service agent for more information on this topic.


From the Image Gallery

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Fragrant native plants for San Antonio, TX
August 19, 2009 - I live in San Antonio, Texas, and I am re-landscaping my backyard after my dog ate some of the beautiful blooming oleander and had to spend some time at the vet's. My backyard is my sanctuary, and it...
view the full question and answer

Why doesn't Diervilla lonicera bloom in Wisconsin?
June 11, 2015 - I have had a Diervilla lonicera in southeastern Wisconsin for at least 5 years. It has never bloomed. Why? It appears healthy.
view the full question and answer

How can I distinguish between Wax Myrtle and Dwarf Wax Myrtle?
November 04, 2009 - I need help identifying between a southern wax myrtle and a dwarf wax myrtle. I am after the bigger type and think my landscaper accidentally put in dwarves. How can I tell? I had 8 put in and their l...
view the full question and answer

Hedge in Desert Full Sun
March 25, 2012 - We want a short hedge, 2-3 ft tall, small leaves that fill in to full looking hedge. It is in Phoenix Arizona area and gets full sun all afternoon
view the full question and answer

Need for smaller tree with less invasive roots from Ft. Worth TX
June 07, 2014 - The sycamore in the front yard has developed roots larger than the branches. They have decided that the water and sewer lines are perfect to acquire their water from. For this reason it will be coming...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center