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?


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

Friday - November 17, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Possible woodpecker damage in Monterrey Oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


I live in NW Austin and have two Monterey Oak trees, each about 30 - 45 gal in size. They both were planted approximately 9 months ago. Both trees seem to have some cracking bark on the trunk along with little bore holes that appear to have some type of blackish sap coming out of them that has since dried to the trunk of the tree. I am curious as to what this is, how I can treat it (if I can at all) and/or what I should do. Please help as I don't want these little fellas to die!


It sounds as if a woodpecker, going after insects, may have drilled the little holes in your tree. It is possible that you have borers, but it would be highly unusual for young, healthy trees to be affected by boring insects. Probably this is a one-time occurrence; but if you see more bark-splitting or weeping holes, you might want to contact a certified arborist or your Travis County Extension Agent for advice.

More Trees Questions

Evergreen tree to provide block for treehouse in Central Texas
April 02, 2010 - I live close to Austin TX and need an evergreen tree to block neighbor's newly constructed, metal roof tree house. It looms over our garden and yard - can you suggest a nice evergreen tree for hot m...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting large trees in Austin, TX
March 30, 2007 - Hello, I'm new to Austin and live in Circle C Subdivision off of Hwy 45 and Spruce Canyon. We would like to plant a couple of trees that will provide shade. I've read your Q&As but would like ad...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing tree for pasture in Coolidge, Texas
August 03, 2009 - Hello, we purchased some land around Coolidge Tx., it has NO trees on it. This is open pasture land, can you suggest a fairly fast growing tree for shade? And if you know can you give us some names ...
view the full question and answer

Need help for my Texas Persimmon in Leander, TX.
June 03, 2015 - Help!! My Texas Persimmon is distressed with either bugs or infection. I'm not sure what to do. I wanted to insert a picture here, but wasn't able to. If there's a way for me to submit a picture...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center