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

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

Yellowing of Thuja occidentalis leaves in early Fall in Maryland
September 12, 2006 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am from Maryland. Please help. I have planted 23 Thuja occidentalis Smaragd in my front yard a few months ago. Height of about 3 feet. Most of the trees have turned golden brown....
view the full question and answer

Brown circular ring in trimmed branches of redbud tree
January 22, 2009 - I have a redbud tree that was recently trimed back. When looking at the cross section of the branches, I noticed a brown circular ring. Is this a problem and if so what can I do to correct it?
view the full question and answer

Screen of Thuja Occidentalis on fire-damaged property in Bastrop TX
May 04, 2013 - I want to plant a screen of Thuja Occidentalis on the east side of our driveway. It is in the burn area of Bastrop, TX. None of our trees survived. Will Thuja Occidentalis grow here? I saw some specim...
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

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
view the full question and answer

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