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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.

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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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Wednesday - March 12, 2014

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problem with Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) in Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 3" diameter Nuttall Oak that the builder planted when building the house. Last summer I noticed that several spots on the trunk were oozing sap (vertical approximately 1.5" long by 0.5" wide). At these locations there were small beetles, apparently stuck in the sap. Additionally, wasps were swarming around the tree. The locations now look like "blisters" where the bark has expanded outward and cracked down the middle. Is this from some kind of borer or several unrelated events? Thanks!

ANSWER:

One possibility for the oozing sap on your Quercus texana [synonym = Quercus nuttalli](Nuttall oak) is slime flux (also known as "wet wood"). 

Another possibility is hypoxylon canker which has been a common problem with trees in Alabama. 

Your best bet for confirming what is happening to your tree and the best way to determine how serious it is and how to treat it would be to contact your Jefferson County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and discuss the problems of your oak with the County Agent.  

You might also contact a professional arborist by searching on the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the National Arborists sites for one in your area who would have the expertise to identify and treat the problem with your oak.

 

 

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