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

Thursday - November 11, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bacterial wetwood disease in ash tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an Ash tree in my front yard. It's about 25 - 30 years old. About 2 months ago, it began to ooze sap from a point where a limb had been pruned, I'd say, about 15 - 20 years ago. So this cut was healed and ok. So the sap is running, it's clear and bubbly. It is surrounded by moths, bees and flies!! When I come home from work, it is hissing. Really, my tree hisses. My son figures it's posessed. My question to you is: what's happening here?!?!?! Is this normal? Any advice is welcome.

ANSWER:

A possessed tree, eh? Just in time for Halloween!
I can't be sure but it sounds as if your tree has "bacterial wetwood" disease. This sounds dire, but actually it is not particularly serious. The University of Illinois Extension gives a description of the disease and recommendations for treatment. Colorado State University also has web page information about wetwood disease. In neither of these articles do they mention that the trees "hiss" but they do mention gases produced by the disease that certainly could produce a hissing noise escaping from the tree.
 

More Trees Questions

Transplant shock in desert willow in Austin
November 09, 2011 - We planted a desert willow 5 days ago. It came in a 15-gallon pot but the tree is quite large (~10 ft) with a wide spread. We watered thoroughly during planting but have not watered since (light rai...
view the full question and answer

Hybrid Leyland Cypress leaning in Annapolis MC
June 29, 2011 - We have a large, 9-year old Leyland Cypress that has tipped over. It is still green and growing but leaning slightly off center. It's about 20' tall. Should we stake it? If so, we'd like to do ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, shade tolerant trees for part shade in Highland MD
March 29, 2013 - Deer resistant privacy trees for partial shady area in Highland, MD.
view the full question and answer

Fruit on Mexican olive in Austin
June 05, 2008 - Does Mexican Olive set fruit in Austin? Does there need to be a male and female tree or not. How old does the plant have to be to set fruit? Mine is three years old but no olives. I need to know ...
view the full question and answer

Tall, narrow evergreen for front of house in Flower Mound, TX
June 21, 2009 - Please recommend a tall, narrow evergreen to be placed at the front corner of my house.
view the full question and answer

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