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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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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.

 

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