Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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 - January 24, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Sap oozing from trunks of Cherry Laurels in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have several mature compact cherry laurels whose leaves are beginning to turn yellow. They are in raised beds, have been properly fertilized, have compost spread around them, and are properly watered. The trunks on several have sap flowing from them. No red "sawdust" at the base of the trunk. Please help.

ANSWER:

It is hard to diagnose a plant problem from a written description, but oozing sap on the trunk suggests holes in the trunk, and holes in the trunk implies some sort of pests, beetles perhaps. Have you carefully examined the trunk? You mention the lack of “red saw dust”, but is there also a lack of holes?

This link from ask extension .org talks about borers and Cherry Laurels, and may prove helpful.
The following is extracted from that link .

Pest Infestation In addition, shot hole borers (Scolytus rugulosus) still occasionally overrun this shrub. This tiny, dark-colored beetle grows to about the size of a grain of rice and possesses strong jaws for chewing its way into the inner wood of branches and trunks. Adult females lay eggs just underneath the bark, and the larvae emerge to start mining little galleries. Signs of a shot hole borer infestation include little, round holes oozing gummy sap mixed with sawdust. Boring damage typically causes twig dieback.
Chemical control methods don't work once shot hole borers infest your shrub since the pests live in the protected area just below the bark. Preventative treatment is also difficult because the pesticide products available to home gardeners don't work effectively. Prune out and destroy all infested plant parts. If the borers attack the trunk, remove the entire shrub.

Or, your cherry laurels may be subject to feeding by the peach tree borer and/or a scale insect.”

Also helpful would be to have a knowledge person take a look at your trees to determine the cause of the problem. You might find such a person by contacting Texas AgriLife Extension.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Further question on sprouts from holly tree in Surprise AZ
November 16, 2010 - Thank you Barbara Medford for your response to my question about the sprouting holly tree in Surprise AZ. I took for granted that the tree I was talking about was a holly tree. I looked at pictures of...
view the full question and answer

Fungus type problem on native blackeyed susans in Ohio
August 20, 2008 - I have black eyed susans that have recently developed a black fungus type problem in the bottom and on the leaves. The flowers are now wilting and dying. What is this and how can I stop it from possib...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

Mildew on phlox paniculata from Morrisville PA
May 30, 2014 - My Phlox paniculata, all 7, have powdery mildew. I read about using NEEM to combat the mildew. NEEM is organic but the bottle says it is also an insecticide. The phlox are near my milkweed and gold...
view the full question and answer

Will damage to live oak root make it more susceptible to oak wilt
December 24, 2012 - Hi. I knicked the root of a live oak when digging. Will this hurt the tree and make it more succeptible to wilt? Is there something I can use to protect the exposed part of the root and make it les...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.