Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - March 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Propagation, Trees
Title: Vehicle friendly oak trees for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do Chinquapins, Shumards or Live Oaks produce lots of tree sap? I'm looking for a vehicle friendly Oak tree to be installed in parking areas in Austin, Texas.

ANSWER:

Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) is evergreen, while Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak), and Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) are deciduous. Actually, Live Oaks do drop a third to a half of their leaves, usually in the late winter, every year, but they are smaller and more easily dealt with, plus you have the advantage of the trees being green year-round, which you won't have with the others. All three trees are native to Texas and, therefore, good selections for Austin.

In terms of tree sap, almost all sap falling or dripping from trees is the product of insects, most often aphids. Generally, this aphid damage is not enough to cause problems for cars parked under them. There are other, more serious insect infestations that can cause sap to be exuded. The worst of these does not just cause irritating dribbles on the cars, but can quickly kill the tree. Of the trees you asked about, only Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) is a live oak. Live Oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than the others, which should definitely be a consideration in your choice. This link to the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership will give you some valuable advice on oak wilt. Please take note of the information on that site, and, if you decide to plant live oaks, to make sure the proper cultural practices are observed in caring for them.

By, the way, all oaks bloom in the spring, and put out a fine dusting of green pollen. Not only is this an allergen for many people, but it's also pretty irritating on paving, walks and cars.


Quercus fusiformis

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus shumardii

 

 

More Trees Questions

Possible fungal infection of oak trees in Mastic Beach, NY.
June 19, 2012 - Sir, I have a yard full of HUGE Oaks. The one in question is about 80' tall 48" in diameter at the base. They are all well maintained fed and trimed and elevated every 3 or 4 years. About 4 years a...
view the full question and answer

Fruit and nut trees safe for horses.
May 11, 2015 - My husband and I just moved to Elgin. We have always wanted to grow fruit/nut baring trees but didn't take in to consideration that horses might eat them. We have never had land or horses before, s...
view the full question and answer

Texas ash tree splitting in Denton TX
April 03, 2010 - I have a Texas ash tree that's splitting in its center and need some info re cable tie or other techniques to fuse the crotch together. I have temporarily placed two bands of plastic cable ties just...
view the full question and answer

Madrone too close to house in Oregon
February 02, 2009 - I have a small Madrone tree (8ft tall) located approximatly 15 feet from my house, with a basement. Should I remove it? ie will it damage the foundation and is the tree strong enough that it will no...
view the full question and answer

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
view the full question and answer

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