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?

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
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 - 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


Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

More Watering Questions

Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
September 27, 2011 - I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Cedar Elm in Kerrville TX
April 28, 2012 - We live in 10 miles outside Kerrville - have a Cedar Elm tree - planted 4 or 5 years ago, 15-20 foot high, is losing leaves in the top 1/4th. Rest of leaves look healthy and green.
view the full question and answer

Mulching tree root in San Angelo, TX
April 02, 2014 - San Angelo, Texas is in a drought stage. Will it help our trees to mulch the base of them?
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center