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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 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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Thursday - May 02, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?

ANSWER:

Since the bark on a tree plays a critical role in the functioning of the plant, having the bark fall off is not a good sign. The extended drought has taken its toll on our oak trees, and in many cases, it has left trees susceptible to various microbial diseases. The Texas Plant Disease Handbook describes several of these. A big problem with oak trees in Texas is oakwilt .

The next thing you need to do is have a knowledgeable person examine your trees and determine what the problem is. This person could be someone from the Travis County office of Texas Agrilife Extension , someone from the Texas Forest Service , or a Certified Arborist. They will be able to advise what your next action should be.

 

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