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

Keeping squirrels out of pecan tree from Garland TX
August 17, 2013 - My yard is covered in green pecans with one bite eaten by squirrels. How do I keep squirrels out of my pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Alder native to Central Indiana
May 30, 2006 - I am trying to find out whether there exists a plant named Alnus rugosa. I bought a plant recently that said Speckled Alder, Alnus serrulata (rugosa), but have been unable to determine if this is a c...
view the full question and answer

Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
October 23, 2012 - I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
view the full question and answer

What are the grey-green plants on oak trees in San Marcos, TX?
March 12, 2011 - The oak trees in the neighborhood in San Marcos, TX, are covered with clumps, or balls, of gray/green fluffy-looking plants. they remind me of bromeliads. You can pull and knock them off; after wind ...
view the full question and answer

Recently planted live oak tree in Boerne, TX
February 07, 2009 - My brother planted a live oak in August. It was from a nursery and had a root ball. It looks dead but I keep watering it. The trunk is about 6 inches around. The leaves died but when the winds came th...
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