Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 10, 2013

From: South Bend, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. The holes are soft if you poke at them. I can see no insects around the holes. Should I be concerned? We do not want to lose this tree as it is beautiful and shades our entire backyard. I read three other responses, but you were talking about a beetle found in TX and I was curious if you thought we could possibly have a similar problem.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is thinking that if he had 130 year old oak with holes oozing sap, he would get a knowledgeable person to take a look at it. It’s hard to diagnose a problem like this long distance. That knowledgeable person could be someone from the St. Joseph County Office of Purdue Extension or a certified arborist.

There is a bird that lives in Indiana, the yellow bellied sap  sucker, that bores holes in trees and uses the sap that comes out as food.  This could be your culprit, and your County Extension Agent could tell for sure.

 

More Trees Questions

Spraying paint on White Pine tree trunks
October 31, 2011 - Is there a paint that is safe to spray on a tree trunk without damaging/killing the tree? We have White Pines that have ~16" spacing without limbs & would like to 'camouflage' the bare space. If pa...
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress knees in leachfield from Ventura CA
March 20, 2013 - Hey, I planted a seedling 20+ years ago which has turned out to be a 40'bald cypress that's now 40'. I'm a native southerner and would hate to cut it down but it's putting up knees in my septic s...
view the full question and answer

Most numerous trees in the Piedmont NC from Chapel Hill NC
September 20, 2012 - What's a list of the most populous trees in piedmont North Carolina?
view the full question and answer

What is eating the leaves of my oak tree in Cedar Park, TX?
May 25, 2010 - This one has a couple of arborists stumped. I have clusters of small, light-colored worms on the leaves of an oak tree, but no tents or webs. They are eating the chlorophyll in the leaves, leaving th...
view the full question and answer

Striped caterpillars on Cornus sericea (redtwig dogwood)
September 07, 2011 - My red-twig dogwood has white/black striped caterpillars that congregate on the underside of the leaves and they are stripping the leaves. What can I do? They almost look like Monarch butterfly larvae...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.