En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Holes in trunk of Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.

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

Sunday - May 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Holes in trunk of Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My Monterrey Oak (about 4 in diameter) has a problem. It started budding out and had a few leafs, then just quit. It had what I thought was new buds that would develop, but didn't. Then, the existing leafs died. There are two siblings in my neighbor's yard that were started from at the same time as mine - about 3 years ago, as small home grown trees - and they seem to be OK. My tree has what looks like some kind of bore holes that are fairly evenly spaced in a horizontal line extending at least 1/2 way around the circumference. These are at 3-4 different heights on the trunk. My neighbor's trees have similar holes, but their trees apparently haven't been affected. There are several fresh growths about 5 inches high coming up around the base of my tree. Those look perfectly healthy. Is there anything I can do to help my tree recover, or is it too late?

ANSWER:

Lets address the evenly spaced holes around the trunk of your  oak tree first. These are the signature sign of the yellow-bellied sap sucker, a member of the woodpecker family. This may sound like a made-up name, but there are 2 species that are native to Texas.
Here are some links to help you become better acquainted with this pretty pest.
   dirtdoctor.com

    allaboutbirds.org

    USDA 

The holes can provide entry point for fungi or insects that can cause significant injury to the the tree. The fresh growth around the tree’s base are termed water sprouts or suckers which are sometimes caused by stress to the tree.

My suggestion is to have  someone who knows about trees look at the situation and make an assessment of your next steps. This someone could be from the Austin City Arborist, the Travis County Office of AgriLife Extension  or the the Texas Forest Service.

 

More Trees Questions

Why is my Chinkapin oak losing its leaves this spring?
June 02, 2009 - We have a chinkapin oak that was planted about two years ago in our front yard. This year it leafed out nicely but about a month ago the leaves began to roll up, then dry out and fall off. It seems ...
view the full question and answer

Avoiding cedar elm because of allergens
August 18, 2008 - Hi. Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, seems like a wonderful, tough, drought tolerant native tree. I'd like to plant several to shade buildings. I'm being discouraged from doing so because Cedar elm ...
view the full question and answer

Death of mature tulip tree in Raymond IL
June 06, 2010 - We have a mature tulip tree that leafed out and looked very healthy then all of the leaves turned brown and fell off. I think the tree is now dead. We live in the country and have a corn field behind ...
view the full question and answer

What to do with a sickly American elm in Austin, Texas
September 27, 2010 - I have an American elm that is about 6 feet tall in my yard. It is has not grown quickly this year--as compared to another American Elm that I have in another spot that is about 3 feet tall and has m...
view the full question and answer

Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
October 01, 2012 - I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center