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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - February 20, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Trees
Title: Pros and cons of live oak leaves left on ground in Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are the pros or cons of leaving live oak leaves on the ground around trees or bushes?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants already has a similar q&a on live oaks leaves. As you can see, this is mostly cons. A few leaves raked into tree wells and maybe a session with a power mower chopping some of them and letting them sift down into the grass will be an advantage to the grass. The thing is, live oaks tend to drop all their leaves at once and that is too much waste material all at once. If they are piled up around tree and shrub bases, fungus may come in and damage the plant, especially if it is rainy or you are watering that bed. Insects will shelter in there, laying eggs and perhaps, like aphids, migrate up to chew holes on the tender young spring leaves.

In addition to all that, there will be acorns that fell in the Fall mixed in there, attracting squirrels, rodents and, again, insects.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

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