En Español

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

Thursday - August 08, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Watering, Trees
Title: Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was covered with several inches of soil. I uncovered it but the bark on the roots by the trunk is not there. Is there any chance this tree will come back? I put some root stimulater on it and have been giving it extra water. I have always watered it every couple weeks or more. Mary

ANSWER:

We are not sure we understand your statement about the root flare being covered with several inches of soil and there being no bark on the roots. Quercus polymorpha (Mexican white oak) (also known as Monterrey Oak) is shown on this USDA Plant Profile Map as native only to Val Verde County in the Big Bend area of Texas, some distance from Bexar County. The tree grows much more widely in Mexico, but is being commercially distributed in the United States. We recommend that dirt not be piled up against the trunk of a tree but roots would ordinarily be covered in dirt, by definition. If the dirt was piled up close to the trunk proper that could certainly cause problems, like fungus and rot, but it would not have waited until 2 weeks ago to do so.

A sudden change such as you describe would be more likely to be the product of an environmental problem or the onset of disease. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on a similar problem on the same tree. Follow any other links in that answer for more information. We do feel that an oak is too valuable a tree to guess about, and suggest you contact a licensed arborist or the Extension Education Office for Bexar County for more information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

Monterrey oak
Quercus polymorpha

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with wax myrtle in Austin
February 01, 2009 - I have been struggling with wax myrtles for the last year! We live in NW Austin, The plants start off great and then thin out, leaves go brown, and die. I then cut off the dead wood in the hope that t...
view the full question and answer

Live oak bark splitting in Katy TX
October 03, 2011 - We have a 7 yr old live oak that looks like its bark is splitting open in branches and top leaves look wilted. If that sounds like oak wilt, do we need to have the tree removed? We live in a subdivisi...
view the full question and answer

Dying Damianita in Blanco, TX.
June 18, 2015 - My Damianita bloomed its heart out and since all the rain here in Blanco the biggest plants turned brown and look dead. I've trimmed back some and do see green stems. Will they come back? How far ...
view the full question and answer

Insects attacking Gregg's Blue Mistflower from Comfort TX
June 20, 2013 - I have a beautiful stand of Gregg's Blue Mist flower that have been attacked by an unknown insect. The new growth is curled and stunted and it is not flowering. I'm not alone..I've seen the Gregg'...
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs turning brown in Dripping Springs TX
October 31, 2011 - Due to the extended drought - a number of trees and shrubs in our Dripping Springs area property have turned brown. Specifically: Live Oak; Agarita; Ash Juniper; Cedar Elm. Is this a dormant stag...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center