En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 07, 2013

From: Gainesville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Problems with Shumard Oaks and Crepe Myrtle in Cooke Co. TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a Shumard Oak Tree that has been in the ground approx. ten years. It has done great, even passing up some of my older Shumards. In August it began to lose its leaves at an alarming rate. They are very green when they fall. They fall single or in clusters. The end of the tree stem is still attached. None of my other Shumards(5)seem to be affected. I live in Gainesville (Cooke Co.) Tx.,just west of I-35. Also my Crepe Myrtle has been attacked by some kind of "Aphid", the leaves are shiny and sticky. Then they turn yellow with black spots and fall. The Shumard is in the back yard, the Crepe is in the front Yard. Could they be related?

ANSWER:

The problems that you describe are not related, and have different culprits involved.

The Crepe Myrtle, although it is widely planted all over Texas and the southern US, is a non native from southeast Asia. You are probably right to suspect aphids to be the cause of your problem. I am going to refer you to a previous question  from last August that explains aphids and honey dew, and contains several links that have even more information about aphids and their control.

For the Shumard Oaks Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak), three culprits come to mind. Two are types of longhorn beetles; twig girdlers and twig pruners. Since the fallen twigs have green leaves attached, twig pruners  are more likely causing the damage. Examine the fallen twigs, and if you see a concave end break, cut the twig open; you should find the fat white round-headed borer.

However, if the twigs have a slanted cut end or a sheared-looking end, then squirrels  are probably your culprits.  (more info)

The folks at the Cooke County Office of Texas Agrilife Extension can probably help you examine your twigs.

 

More Trees Questions

Supplier for non-native Norfolk Pine to East Texas
March 17, 2013 - I would like to buy a Norfolk Pine Tree for my uncle who lives 90 miles east of Dallas, Texas. He saw my Norfolk Pine tree in CA which is 30 to 40 ft. tall. Where can I find a company that will ship...
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts from Live Oak in Dallas
February 26, 2011 - How do I kill Holly growing in my yard? I have a Live Oak tree growing in my Bermuda grass lawn. The holly grows under the tree from the trunk extending out about 12-15 ft. It grows right in with the ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native trees for Austin
January 31, 2009 - Please recommend all evergreen native trees for Austin TX.
view the full question and answer

Oak saplings in Boerne TX
August 02, 2010 - Is there anything I can do to kill the oak tree saplings that come up around my oak tree? I have a nice raised flower bed around the tree and now it's full of these saplings. Thanks for your help...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center