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

Monday - August 19, 2013

From: Lakeway, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Stressed live oaks from Lakeway TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have some Live Oaks who appear to be stressed (Ball Moss is becoming very prevalent on some of them) during the drought in Central TX. How often and how long should I water them? Thank you very much for your help.

ANSWER:

We know that you didn't infer that the Tillandsia recurvata (Small ball moss) was causing the decline of your oak, as many people think, but we would like for you to read this Floridata article just to reassure you that it is not a parasite, drinking tree blood and killing your tree.

You probably already know what a problem Oak Wilt is in Travis County but it is not the only thing that can go wrong, especially in our hot, droughty weather. Here is a previous answer detailing some of those things, with links to more information.

That previous answer also adds some suggestions on watering, to which we would only add that you can use a hose and lawn sprinkler out on the dripline area, but depending on a sprinkler system to help a tree is not sufficient.

 

From the Image Gallery


Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

More Trees Questions

Ash tree dying back to lower sprouts in Kempner TX
June 19, 2010 - My 2 year old ash tree leaves dropped, appears dead, branches dying. New growth near base of tree. Do I cut upper trunk or remove entire tree? My other ash is doing well.
view the full question and answer

Grafting Shumard Oak to Decrease Acorn Bearing Age in New Orleans
September 23, 2010 - Can a Shumard Oak that is bearing acorns (30 yrs. old)be grafted to a seedling in order to decrease the bearing of the tree in a similar manner as grafting pecan trees? Can it be propagated by any me...
view the full question and answer

Fraxinus cuspidata (Fragrant Ash)
May 30, 2008 - Two part question: 1) Will fragrant (flowering; Fraxinus cuspidata) ash survive in Zone 7b? 2) Where can I get it?
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Space for a desert willow in Odessa, TX
April 23, 2009 - I have a small planting space about 5X5 that is four feet in front of the side of my front door. It is right under the eaves of my house. It's rather an enclosed porch space. I have a new very sma...
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