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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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Friday - August 09, 2013

From: AUSTIN, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: What clips green twigs from cedar elms?
Answered by: Guy thompson

QUESTION:

Many small cuttings (3-5 inches long) are dropping from large cedar elm. To my eye the ends look like breaks (not chiseled), but I can't imagine what would cause so many breaks, and so think something must be cutting. Ants? Grasshoppers (haven't seen any)? Squirrels?

ANSWER:

I noticed the very same thing on my cedar elm here in Austin some years ago.  After doing a bit of sleuthing I discovered that it was done by squirrels and only at a certain time of year. There must be something very tasty in the growing twigs just then.  The fairly extensive de-twilgging has continued every year since then, but the elm shows no ill effects.  I've come to consider it simply another pruning job to complement the pruning that I do regularly in other parts of my garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

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