Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

More Pests Questions

Killing oak sprouts from El Paso TX
August 16, 2011 - I want to know how to kill oak root sprouts and seedlings. Very dense and out-of-control in huge area of front lawn. I had tree cut down and I still cannot get rid of them. They're only getting wors...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

Possible leaf cutter ants in Elgin, TX
December 08, 2014 - I've planted many beautiful native vines and flowering plants this fall. However, in the past week I've noticed something has been eating these plants, including coral honeysuckle vine, salvia, and ...
view the full question and answer

Food for wild rabbits in Shiro TX
July 15, 2009 - There are usually 1-2 cottontail rabbits sharing our 4 acre habitat that are suffering due to the lack of new growth caused by drought. Is there anything I can plant after this summer that would provi...
view the full question and answer

Defenses against imported red leaf beetles on lilies
August 06, 2007 - I've recently discovered small red beetles of some kind on my lilies, which they are happily devouring. I've been picking them off with my fingers and squashing them, but I'd like a better alterna...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.