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

Wednesday - October 03, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Webbing on the bark of a hackberry tree.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants. We have a large hackberry tree in our back yard that has what appears to be extensive spider webbing covering large areas of the bark at the trunk . . and extending well up the larger branches of the tree. Is this spider related . . . or could this be a fungus of some sort?

ANSWER:

Your tree is probably playing host to a colony of harmless creatures called bark lice.  Bark lice are in a group of insects called Psocids.  In spite of their name, they pose no threat whatsoever to humans, pets or your trees.  Psocids feed on mold, pollen, lichen, algae and decomposing plant matter.  Much more common in Southern coastal areas, bark lice need high humidity to survive and thrive.  With the arrival of a dry front the bark lice and their webs will disappear within a few days.
 

More Trees Questions

Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Granbury Texas
December 21, 2014 - We need to put an evergreen privacy screen between our barn and our neighbor's new 132' long, unattractive building, which runs along & is just 40' away from our fence line & where they have decid...
view the full question and answer

Plants beneath native bald cypress trees in Thibodaux LA
September 14, 2009 - I have a bed that needs to be revamped and it has two beautiful 18 year old Bald cypress trees. I would like to work the soil and plant some appropriate shade tolerant plants. How do I work the soil...
view the full question and answer

Can I make my large pecan trees produce larger nuts?
November 14, 2013 - I have 2 older large pecan trees about 40' tall but the nuts are very small, only about 1 1/2". What can I do to get larger nuts?
view the full question and answer

Bulging trunks on post oak
August 05, 2011 - I have a huge post oak with a codominant trunk that is bulging between the two main trunks. The bulging is causing the trunks to spread apart, so one of the trunks is getting much too close to the ho...
view the full question and answer

Black Sap from Live Oak in Austin, Texas
April 20, 2015 - We live in South Austin and our neighbor has several beautiful, enormous Live Oak trees whose canopies hang over into our yard. This past week, they've begun dripping some sort of black sap all over ...
view the full question and answer

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