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 Trees Questions

Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
view the full question and answer

large tree suited for limestone site in Austin, TX
January 15, 2015 - I have a dying Chinaberry tree [35 ' tall; WNW corner of lot; at least 25 years old] that I am having removed. What native / adapted tree would you recommend to fill that void. I do understand that...
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling early from red oaks.
October 08, 2007 - The leaves on my Texas red oaks are dropping off prematurely. This usually doesn't happen until late November/early December. I'm wondering if it has something to do with our wet summer, or if I sho...
view the full question and answer

Looking for Sideroxylon celastrinum (Coma saffron plum) seeds or seedlings
February 12, 2015 - Hi. I'm trying to find a good commercial source for la coma (Bumelia celastrina) seedlings/seeds. Can you help? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

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