Rent Shop 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

Bignoniaceae Family Members Fix Nitrogen?
January 23, 2016 - Do plants in the Bignoniaceae family, such as Tecoma stans and Chilopsis linearis, fix nitrogen into the soil? I ask because they have a bean-type pod. Just curious.
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae for house plant from Austin
August 15, 2013 - I am a Northerner transplanted to Austin, TX. While I love Austin it feels like many of the plants & trees I came to love up north won't grow here at all. Could I grow an arborvitae in my home as a...
view the full question and answer

Difference between liveoaks (Quercus fusiformis and Q. virginiana)
March 17, 2008 - I am a little confused on the identification differences between Quercus fusiformis and Quercus virginiana. How can you properly identify between the two?
view the full question and answer

Landscape Fabric for Oak Suckers in Austin
February 11, 2015 - Can landscape fabric (covered w/decorative bark mulch) be safely used to control Escarpment oak sprouts? 70-year-old knees are tired of getting down to remove. Oaks are in Circle C area of Austin
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

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