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

Monday - July 30, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Something dripping from red oak in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There is a large red oak outside my apartment. The leaves are shiny and covered with what appears to be oil. The ground underneath is coated with this also. When I parked under the tree my car became covered with oil. It came off easily at the carwash. I don't see any bees or insects and the tree appears healthy. It could be sap, except that it seems to be coming from the leaves. My main concern is that this is possibly an insect infestation.

ANSWER:

Because we are hearing about so much dripping from trees, frequently from oaks, that we are going to take a chance and send you links to some previous answers. It seems to be an absolute epidemic in Austin this year, possibly because of the weird weather.

Austin, July 14, 2012

Boca Raton, FL July 10, 2012

These were just the most recent on the subject. We have about 100 questions on aphids in our previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions.

Since this oak is apparently on the grounds at your apartment, you should probably alert the management to have their garden maintenance people examine it. Emphasize, NO HERBICIDE! The herbicide will kill beneficials (like lady bugs) that feed on the aphids and not faze the aphid eggs waiting to hatch into more aphids.

 

More Trees Questions

Sudden death of one side of Mountain Laurel from Canyon Lake TX
July 22, 2013 - Hello! We live in Canyon Lake TX and have a Mountain Laurel that is in distress. It is planted in an irrigated flower bed and has been happily growing for 5 years. It is about 5' tall and has sever...
view the full question and answer

Native trees to replace dying Arizona ash (Fraxinus velutina)
June 06, 2008 - I have two 25-30 year old Arizona Ash trees in my front yard, which I think are dying. They are the only shade my house gets, and I am dreading losing them. (They are massive and beautiful) What are m...
view the full question and answer

Seven foot privacy fence in Tucson
November 25, 2014 - I am looking for a privacy hedge for a home in Tucson, Arizona that will be in full sun. Needs to be at least seven foot tall and low water and maintenance. Any suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Retailers of possumhaw
March 11, 2007 - How can I find retailers of possumhaw (Ilex decidua)?
view the full question and answer

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