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

Wednesday - June 05, 2013

From: Lampasas, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Treating scarred Gum Bumelia from Lampasas TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a very old Gum Bumelia with a scarred open tree trunk. In the past concrete was used to fill the scarred trunk. What is the acceptable method of helping the tree. More concrete or using black pruning sealant???


 Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) is not a very big tree ordinarily and is considered a "pest tree" in some localities. However, we respect the fact that you would like to preserve your old tree if you can. This member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team grew up in West Texas, where there were few trees, with or without holes, so we have no personal experience in the matter.

We have to be honest, our first reaction to this question was "You're kidding, right?" But we did some research and discovered that this was once a common practice. Read this paper on Tree Surgery and the Concrete Cure. However, it was published by Concrete International, so it might not be totally impartial.

Moving on, we found some more articles that addressed the subject:

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer  on filling hole in tree with concrete.

From Gardening Know How Filling Holes in Tree Trunks

Califonia Garden Clubs, Inc. Do Not Fill Tree Cavities with Concrete

and, finally, the one we think makes the most sense -

Texas !&M AgriLIFE Extension Tree Care Kit

Whether  you want to do this yourself or engage a licensed arborist to make repairs or recommendations, you are the one that will have to make the decision. It will be necessary to weigh the costs and difficulties of treating the hole against the possibility that the tree will not survive much longer, no matter what you do.


From the Image Gallery

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

More Trees Questions

Insect attack on bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
May 30, 2008 - Something is attacking the bur oak that was planted in 2007. Insects are not on the leaves, but the edges of some leaves look chewed back. Others look brown around the edges. Do you have any idea w...
view the full question and answer

Searching for a red mulberry tree (Morus rubra) to buy
March 17, 2008 - Want to purchase a native Texas Red Mulberry tree (morus rubra). Can't find one. Can you help? Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Will wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) grow in Roswell NM?
September 29, 2011 - We live in Roswell, NM. Will a wax myrtle tree live in our climate and soil?
view the full question and answer

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center