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?

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
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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with Copper Canyon Daisy from Austin
June 08, 2014 - We had 3 copper canyon daisies. Two of them bloomed profusely last year, but only one has come back this spring. We cut them all back as instructed. When it was clear that two were not coming back, we...
view the full question and answer

Knots on redbuds in Stillwell, OK
April 07, 2011 - My redbud has knots all over the limbs. Its been this way for a few years now. I can not find a way to take care of this problem. I don't even know what is causing this. Can you help me?
view the full question and answer

Problems with volunteer tree in Joshua TX
February 15, 2012 - I have a 'volunteer' tree which has been in our back yard for about 15 years. It has had the usual traumas, ie. lots of snow, ice, etc. but after last years drought, its bark is coming off and sev...
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Mystery pest eating portulaca blooms
July 02, 2006 - I'm from Texas and I purchased some portulaca from a local nursery about three weeks ago and planted them in the front yard....with plenty of sun. Here's the problem. The foliage seems very health...
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