Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

More Trees Questions

Cherry trees in the North Texas area
April 21, 2009 - Will cherry trees grow well in the North Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Mountain ash seedlings in Yorkshire, England
May 25, 2008 - Is there any way I can stop Mountain Ash from seeding in my garden. This year in particular, I am absolutely overrun with the seedlings and once they get a hold they are difficult to remove.
view the full question and answer

Digging sassafras roots in Oklahoma
March 11, 2009 - When should I dig sassafras roots in eastern Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

Tall, narrow evergreen for front of house in Flower Mound, TX
June 21, 2009 - Please recommend a tall, narrow evergreen to be placed at the front corner of my house.
view the full question and answer

Mimosa shape
November 27, 2007 - I planted a summer chocolate mimosa, and although it has bloomed lovely foliage, it has two main branches growing in a vee shape. Is this normal? Do I need to do anything to spur the growth in a more ...
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.