Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Connecticut Plants for a Steep Slope
September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
view the full question and answer

Fruit crops to grow in Tennessee mountains
May 27, 2013 - My property has a lot of rock formations throughout it and has hundreds of cedars where it is not pasture. I am wanting to grow fruit trees and berry bushes but don't know what can grow in this e...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of strange orange growth on shrubs
May 04, 2009 - I have found a strange orange ball shape with softer spikes about 1-2 in. growing from it on my shrubs, they grow around the branch. I believe they are Yews. I have never seen them before but now ther...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for Long Beach
May 12, 2013 - When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach, it has killed all my plants and now almost all of Long Beach is left with dead dried brown vegetation. I want to replant front with bushes and flowers. What woul...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for foundation plants
June 02, 2010 - Can you recommend any evergreen shrubs that would work as foundation plants in front of windows, so preferably below 4' tall? I would love a native plant, and of course anything for the birds and be...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.