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

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


Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
September 24, 2012 - I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
view the full question and answer

Oak sap dripping on driveway in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Why would oak sap be dripping on driveway at this time when other oaks the neighbors have are not.
view the full question and answer

Cutting Back Perennials in the Fall?
November 13, 2013 - We have large beds of flowering native perennials that we planted around our house as part of a landscape conservation plan (various Joe-Pyes, goldenrods, turtlehead, blazing star, brown-eyed Susans)....
view the full question and answer

Treating cuts in tree trunks
November 21, 2009 - We have two young trees that deer made bad cuts in the trunks. What can we put on cuts to keep bugs and disease from getting in them.? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Keeping cows from eating the garden
September 02, 2008 - I have a flowerbed area outside of our new split-rail fence available for planting, but cattle roam outside the fence also! Do you have any suggestions for plants that cows tend not to eat (unle...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center