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

Thursday - July 04, 2013

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Chlorotic disease in scrub oak from Katy TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Please tell me how to treat my scrub oak as it has chlorotic disease. Parts of the tree are fine and others have yellow leaves. It has not been injured in any way.


There are four plants native to North America with the common name "scrub oak." The map link following each plant name refers to the USDA Plant Profile Map on that plant showing to what states it is native. In the case of the two native to Texas, the map indicates the Texas counties in which a scrub oak grows natively.

Quercus dumosa (Coastal sage scrub oak) - endemic (growing natively nowhere else) to California (Map)

Quercus ilicifolia (Bear oak) Also known as  Scrub Oak (Map). Not reported as growing natively in Southwest U.S. at all.

Quercus mohriana (Mohr oak)  Also known as shin oak, scrub oak. (Map) West Texas and Panhandle.

Quercus turbinella (Sonoran scrub oak) (Map) El Paso, Hudspeth and Brewster Counties in Big Bend Area of far West Texas.

None of these sound very likely to be garden plants in Harris, Ft. Bend and Waller Counties, in southeast Texas. Is it possible that you got the wrong common name? As long as it is a member of the Quercus (oak) genus, it probably doesn't matter. Chlorosis in the Quercus genus is usually a product of being grown in incompatible soils.

Please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on chlorosis in another species of oak, Quercus palustris (Pin oak). We hope this helps you establish what your tree is and the best ways to deal with chlorosis.


From the Image Gallery

Coastal sage scrub oak
Quercus dumosa

Mohr oak
Quercus mohriana

More Trees Questions

Red oaks that didn't drop leaves in Austin
April 04, 2012 - I have a number of Red Oaks on land that did not drop leaves this past fall. Now these same trees seem to be dead? It seems there's some type of mold/fungus on the trees. Some trees have small patche...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating suckers from roots of Moraine locust in Hilliard, OH
July 07, 2009 - We removed a large Moraine Locust tree and also the stump. Now little trees from the roots are coming up. How do we get rid of these so something else can be planted?
view the full question and answer

Manor, TX in Blackland Prairie ecoregion
June 27, 2006 - Hi, I am planning an event for my community in Shadowglen and Manor, TX so my neighbors can learn about using native plants in the landscape to create healthier habitat for wildlife and be more respon...
view the full question and answer

Trees that aren't poisonous or don't have poisonous berries for dogs
January 20, 2010 - What trees are not poisonous or have poison berries for dogs?
view the full question and answer

Pruning technique for Anacacho Orchid from Austin
May 18, 2011 - I have an Anacacho Orchid tree that is about 8 ft tall and still young. It is doing quite well. I have never pruned it, but lately I have been considering it as some of the top branches are starting t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center