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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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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

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