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

Monday - July 14, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Problem with flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolatta)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My Flameleaf Sumac appears to have an insect infestation in the bark which oozes a sappy sticky substance. This has apparently caused one of the limbs to die. Will it kill the whole plant and is there anything I can do?

ANSWER:

At the Wildflower Center we have noted cicadas ovipositing in the Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) tree trunks and limbs causing a lot of oozing sap and killing some limbs. This might be the cause of your problem. In extreme cases, it could kill the tree and because sumacs are prone to fungal diseases, it would definitely make them more prone to disease problems. Prevention is the best way to treat the problem of cicadas ovipositing—some people put small-mesh netting over their small, vulnerable trees in mid summer to fend off cicadas. At the Wildflower Center we have no shortage of sumacs and since they are relatively short-lived trees anyway, we do not treat them since they are easy to replace. You might contact the Travis County Agricultural Extension Service office to see if they have had other reports of cicada damage or any other types of damage in sumac trees and how to treat it. Here is some information about periodical cicadas.

 


Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

 

 

More Trees Questions

Native plants for under a black walnut from Lansing MI
October 04, 2012 - What native plants can you recommend that will grow in Michigan under a mature black walnut tree?
view the full question and answer

Control of borers attacking Prunus serotina
August 30, 2006 - Where can I find information to control borers that seem to attack only Prunus serotina v. exemia?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas wild olive tree in Tucson
November 15, 2010 - Planted a Texas Olive tree in Tucson, Az. Some of the leaves are kind of yellow. It gets part sun and part shade and is growing. Is this due to too much water, not enough water or does it need somet...
view the full question and answer

Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
July 24, 2011 - I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of redbuds from shoots in St. Louis MO
July 17, 2009 - I have a beautiful, healthy old redbud tree that I love. Every year, I find baby redbud trees rooted all over my yard, Since they are deep, I can't seem to dig them out so I simply cut them down to...
view the full question and answer

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