Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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

Monday - May 25, 2015

From: Kingsland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Falling Balls from an Oak in Kingsland TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a large Live Oak in the back yard, with St. Augustine grass under it. It is April 3, 2015. The leaves have fallen and now little tiny round balls are falling. I am hearing a popping noise under the tree all over the grass. Is this the Live Oak doing this?

ANSWER:

There have been a few Mr Smarty Plants question/answer pairs that sound a bit like this question, it sounds like your balls could either be flowers, immature acorns or oak galls depending on size and shape.  Heres some discussions to consider:

Acorns:
Abundance of acorns from Wimberley TX:   
The first picture below is labeled "Flower Buds"

Galls:

Identity of small objects that look like tiny pecans: 
Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX  
Leaf Galls on Live Oak  

A couple of these answers included the excellent suggestion to contact the local extension office.  As you’re in-between, here are the web addresses for both the Burnett County Extension Office and the Llano County Extension Office.  While at it, I also found that Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program has an online article on Round Balls on Live Oaks, this indicates it might be caused by a small wasp.

 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

More Pests Questions

Orange eggs on milkweed plants
October 18, 2012 - Hello I have milk weed in my flower garden. Every year I find small orange 'eggs' on the leaves and stems of the plant. I don't think these are the monarch eggs, but not sure if they are other...
view the full question and answer

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

Discouraging rattlesnakes in northern California
July 12, 2011 - Searching for information re: managing your garden to discourage snakes, especially rattlesnakes. I live in northern California and we have many. I found one of your articles, but the link to an U. of...
view the full question and answer

White spotting on prickly pear cactus
July 28, 2015 - Hello- I have large prickly pear cacti and just noticed large white spotting on some of the leaves. I also see some black bugs and apparently they are the problem.They are about 1/4" long. How can I ...
view the full question and answer

Rabbit-proof Plants for Texas
July 03, 2014 - Do you have a list of flowers that rabbits will eat or will not eat so I know what to plant or avoid? I have a year-round rabbit population in my neighborhood and wish to co-exist with them without t...
view the full question and answer

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