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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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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!

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Thursday - April 09, 2015

From: Liberty, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Trees
Title: Live Oak Mess in Liberty, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Should I leave the pollination debris that has fallen from my 3 historic live oaks on the ground surface beneath them or use a leaf blower to remove.

ANSWER:

My Homeowners Association doesn’t consider that there is any option there!

That debris is the male flower of the Oak Tree, a catkina male oak flower which has been happily coating your car in yellow-green pollen the last few weeks.

Here are a couple web articles about this phenomenom,
"Oak Flowers" from backyardnature.net, a  discussion/description of Oak Catkins and
"Oak pollen: job done" from the Washington Post.

  Being slightly more serious about this, it is pretty much up to you. The tree is done with them and has discarded the catkins.  In a natural situation, the catkins become part of the leaf compost/mulch that is formed under the tree.  This will act to suppress other plants under the Oak, but is fine otherwise.    With that said - Mine has been raked up and set out for the city green recycling pickup.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

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