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
1 rating

Saturday - July 13, 2013

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problems with red oak trees in North Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Eric Beckers


What is the disease effecting Red Oak trees in North Central Texas; causing them to lose leafs in Spring/Summer and turning the remaining leaves light yellow/lime green in color. Thank you.


To answer your question, I contacted Eric Beckers, Forester, with the Texas A&M Forest Service Project in Austin.  He, in turn, asked for input from Courtney Blevins with Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council that includes your area of North Central Texas.  Here is what Eric (and Courtney corroborated) said about your trees' problems:

"Our main threats to red oaks in North Central Texas are oak wilt, drought related secondary insects (borers) and diseases (hypoxylon), and urbanization (bulldozer blight).  Bacterial leaf scorch can cause chlorosis and dieback and is usually accompanied by a large amount of marginal burn and defoliation.  But far too often the chlorotic oaks we witness are ones that should have stayed in Louisiana or Arkansas where they came from.  In other words, their genetics were just not right for our high pH soils and they develop nutrient deficiencies that usually cannot be corrected.  These off-colored oaks are often less then 10-20 years of age and usually exhibit twig dieback and are typically short lived.

The answer is to plant trees grown from seed sources collected in a similar habitat or ecoregion.  Not always an easy task, but the best nursuries will most often carry plants that will adapt to their market's environment.  We should plant native Texas red oaks and possibly western seed source Shumard oaks in Central Texas, not East Texas seed sources or hybridized (another issue) red oaks that do best in more acidic and moist soils found the other side of the Sabine River."

Here is the Texas Forest Service link to diseases and insect pests.

You can visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forestry page to find contact information for the office in your area.

You can find the names and contact information for Certified Arborists in your area on the Texas Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture page.


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Mildew on phlox paniculata from Morrisville PA
May 30, 2014 - My Phlox paniculata, all 7, have powdery mildew. I read about using NEEM to combat the mildew. NEEM is organic but the bottle says it is also an insecticide. The phlox are near my milkweed and gold...
view the full question and answer

One wax myrtle declining in Austin
April 20, 2011 - I have 3 wax myrtles in a row; two are doing fine and one is looking "sad". It is thinning and when I checked a few branches they were dead, I pruned it and it was dead. I have had the trees for 7 y...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

Controlling mildew on Gaillarida sp.
August 11, 2005 - Any suggestions for controlling mildew on blanket flower? It's spreading throughout my garden.
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant and grub-resistant grass for Smithville TX
October 02, 2012 - I want a drought resistant grass for a sunny area that is also resistant to grubs. I have lots of grubs but want a healthy soil of good microbes. Any ideas? Zoysia, Buffalo? I noticed that Tech Turf r...
view the full question and answer

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