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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
view the full question and answer

Cause of trees losing bark in Arkansas
December 27, 2011 - I live in very rural Arkansas and we did have extreme heat this past summer and since then I have noticed several trees in the woods that have lost huge strips of their bark and I was wondering if it ...
view the full question and answer

Orange patches circling cedar branches
May 15, 2010 - We have dry rusty orange patches that circle several of our Cedar branches. There are a few orange blobs on different limbs, but they do not look like the pictures of Cedar Rust (no horns). The foli...
view the full question and answer

Effect of heavy rains on Lindheimer Muhly
May 04, 2015 - It is April 2015, in San Antonio we've had very heavy rains recently. My Lindheimer muhly, which was looking beautiful, has now turned brown all over. Is this normal or is this a problem?
view the full question and answer

Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
September 24, 2011 - I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the sp...
view the full question and answer

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