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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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Sunday - June 08, 2014

From: round rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Live oaks exhibiting white foam spots from Round Rock, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have several native very large Live Oak in our backyard, and this summer we have noticed white foam spots on the branches. We live in Round Rock next to the Williamson County Park. The spots look like sores on the tree, and the white foam is very sticky, and is spreading to other trees. The leaves on the tree still appear green and healthy. The bark, however, appears to be shedding where these foamy spots are. The spots exist from about 6 ft to 50 ft up the tree, each spot being about 1cm. I have some photos I would love to attach..

ANSWER:

We are sorry, we are no longer able to accept photographs. We will search on some other oak diseases with which we are familiar, and see if we can match your symptoms up to some known tree disease. Please read this article from the Texas A&M AgriLife Cooperative Extension on Major Oak Diseases and their Control. Then, we urge you to contact a local, licensed arborist and ask them for a diagnosis and suggested treatment. DO NOT bring someone in who wants payment in advance and who insists they have a spray that will kill anything. It probably would. We cannot possibly make a diagnosis at a distance and, as volunteers, we don't make house calls. In Texas large trees are treasures, and large live oaks trees are golden treasures so be prepared to do what you have to do. It will be worth it in the long run.

 

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