En Español

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

Saturday - September 15, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Bark problems with Monterrey oak from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a 65 gallon Monterrey Oak (White Oak) in my front yard in February of this year. I water it once a week. All of the leaves and branches appear very healthy and there is no discoloration. About a month ago I noticed some dark areas (patches) on the bottom 5 feet of the trunk. They are not soggy or wounds, just discolored areas. They also don't appear to have a thick layer of bark. Well, about 2 weeks ago I also noticed a small hole with dark sap coming out of it. I have not observed any bugs on the tree or any bug trails. I also haven't pruned or injured the tree in any way. The discoloring and sap are on one side of the trunk ranging from 6 inches to 4 feet of the ground. I would like to know what you think it is?

ANSWER:

First, we would comment that is a heck of a big tree to transplant; luckily, you did it in February, so hopefully we can rule out transplant shock. Maybe.

We have recently answered a couple questions on white oaks (Quercus polymorpha (Mexican white oak, Monterrey Oak) and Quercus laceyi (Lacey oak), both considered resistant to Oak Wilt, but with some similar problems. First, we would ask that you read both of these previous questions, to see if they answer your question.

Austin, TX

San Antonio, TX actually, this is on a Lacey Oak, but it is also a white oak,  considered resistant to oak wilt, but it is a very similar problem

Beyond that, the little hole could be caused by a woodpecker or sapsucker who are shopping for either bugs or the sap in the bark of the tree.

Holes in ash in Austin

Holes in pecan branch in Cooper, TX

In the final analysis, diagnosing a tree we cannot see is a near impossibility. If the situation appears alarming enough, you should contact some of the specialists that are mentioned in the various links.

 

From the Image Gallery


Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

More Trees Questions

Failure to thrive of potted blue-green cypress
July 26, 2008 - I received a small 14" potted blue-green cypress for Christmas 2007. Kept it in a bright window, not direct sun. It was doing great until two weeks ago when it started turning brown from the center. ...
view the full question and answer

Do I need to plant a male winterberry? yes
October 19, 2007 - I planted a female winterberry in early July & although I have been watering it regularly the leaves turned brown on the tips in Sept. No berries yet so will I have to plant a male? Thanks, Carol
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow and Orchid tree with no upper leaves from Kerrville TX
May 30, 2013 - I have two 5 year old Desert Willows planted in my yard. This year only one has leaved out and blooming. The other is bare but the branches are not dead and it has new growth at the bottom. Do you kno...
view the full question and answer

Young Mexican White Oak Losing Leaves in Texas
July 13, 2016 - I have a 5 yr old Mexican white oak, 20 ft tall losing its leaves mostly at the top. They turn brown & fall off. It does not lose its leaves in the winter, right?. About 3 ft from the top down is bare...
view the full question and answer

Wild Texas olive trees in Chappell Hill TX
July 17, 2009 - Are wild texas olive trees male and female? Mine is evergreen with no olives. I would like to have another that is evergreen and has no fruit but all I find are deciduous and have fruit.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center