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

Tuesday - March 26, 2013

From: Mesa, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Planting, Trees
Title: Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look like they're being absorbed by the tree. My other tree has a very sparse amount of new leaves, most branches are bare at the tips and grey. The trunk is smooth with no grooves and the places that have been pruned look as though I trimmed them yesterday rather than months ago. Is it sick? Or dead?

ANSWER:

There are no Live Oaks native to Maricopa County with that particular common name, "Evergreen Live Oaks." There are, however, 5 evergreen or semi-evergeen oaks native there. As deep in the southwestern desert as Maricopa County is, just about any oak would be evergreen, so we will list those and then do some research to see if we can find out what is going on with your trees.

Quercus emoryi (Emory oak) - semi-evergreen

Quercus gambelii (Gambel oak) - semi-evergreen

Quercus grisea (Gray oak) - evergreen

Quercus hypoleucoides (Silverleaf oak) - evergreen

Quercus turbinella (Sonoran scrub oak) -evergreen

We are going to choose Quercus emoryi (Emory oak) as our example, as all these trees are native to the same area and would probably share the same problems. If one tree is doing well in the environment, getting the same water, etc. about all we can think of that would be causing the problems you are describing is transplant shock. Please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on transplant shock. Although the trees in this previous question had only been in the ground a few days, the answer does tell you how to determine if a tree is dead, what treatment you can give it, and the possibility that you should have the tree looked at by a trained, licensed arborist.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Gambel oak
Quercus gambelii

Gray oak
Quercus grisea

Silverleaf oak
Quercus hypoleucoides

More Trees Questions

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer

Control of live oak suckers by cutting
July 23, 2007 - How do I control the Live Oak root suckers? At the moment we are cutting them as they come out of the ground.
view the full question and answer

How far east to avoid Ashe juniper pollen from Austin?
September 04, 2010 - How far East of San Antonio and Austin do I have to go to avoid the pollen of Juniperus Ashei? Is Bastrop county safe? I'd be happy if it were gone 90% of the winter days - will the wind keep it aw...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
March 19, 2008 - Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are pa...
view the full question and answer

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