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

Saturday - October 05, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Soils, Trees
Title: Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?

ANSWER:

How recently? If you planted it in hot weather, which in Central Texas is just about any time except November to January, the trees may be suffering from transplant shock. Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak), while native to Texas, grows more commonly in areas north of Texas and likes acidic soils, which you are not likely to have in Central Texas. However, we have seen some beautiful specimens of this tree growing right here in Austin, so we know it is viable here. We also would like to mention the "great soil" you planted your tree in. Was this with ample compost added to the soil to facilitate drainage? A lot of soils in Central Texas, in addition to being alkaline, are also clays which, without amending for better drainage, can trap water around the roots and cause problems. We can't answer the question as to whether you should be worried; only tell you what the causes of browning leaves might be. Since it has been so dry and hot here, that alone could have been the cause. We recommend you watch and wait, and begin to worry if the tree does not leaf out again next Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

More Soils Questions

Converting a Texas backyard to grow Xerophytic native plants
January 09, 2015 - I am planning the conversion of our backyard, about 4000 sq ft of largely St Augustine, into a grassless landscape of hardscaping and native plants. Iíve been an avid gardener of rock garden plants i...
view the full question and answer

Best fertilizer for live oak trees in Central Texas
April 22, 2010 - What is the best fertilizer for live oak trees in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Use of fresh clippings from tree trimmers for mulch in Austin
May 02, 2010 - Hi, The tree trimmers are in my neighborhood (east central Austin) to clear the power lines and said I can have a load of free mulch. I am wondering if there is any harm in using the fresh mulch from...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping and wildlife gardening in Clifton, TX
November 29, 2004 - I am moving to Clifton, TX, and I will have an empty lot in the town along with my own home/lot. What kind of soil can I expect? I want to grow a wildflower site to just sit and enjoy and feed the a...
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