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
1 rating

Thursday - June 11, 2009

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Curling lower leaves on live oak in Cedar Park, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have noticed that one of my live oak tree, the leaves on the bottom of the tree have stared to curl. The leaves above that look fine. The trees are about 12 yrs old. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Since you live in either Northern Travis County or Williamson County, we are going to assume that you have a Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), which is native to that area. Unfortunately, we cannot begin any discussion of problems with a live oak without talking about Oak Wilt. To give you more information about the appearance and symptoms of this disease, see this USDA website Identify, Prevent and Control Oak Wilt.  

There are two other possible reasons for the curling of the leaves, Oak Anthracnose and Oak Decline. Oak Anthracnose, while it causes curling and discoloration on lower leaves, seems to affect only white oaks, not live oaks. Ditto with Oak Decline, which is most often caused by insects or diseases that invade a tree already in trouble for some other reason.

It is almost impossible to diagnose a plant disease without seeing it. You would be advised to contact someone who is trained in the recognition of oak diseases and arrange to have the tree examined. Go to the Texas Oak Wilt Partnership webpage for some suggestions on how to get help. Another valuable source of information on tree diseases is the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Williamson County. There is always the possibility that some insect of which we are not aware is causing this type of symptom in your area. The website has contact information, and they possibly even can give you a source for diagnosis.

 

More Trees Questions

Growing a Texas Mountain Laurel in Pennsylvania
May 20, 2012 - Can I grow a Texas Mt. Laurel in Lancaster, PA?
view the full question and answer

Can a bur oak fit in a small space in Austin?
April 11, 2011 - We recently got a one-gallon pot of Bur Oak. The area around our house has two old live oaks on the NW corner and another large live oak on the SE. There isn't much room on the SW corner for the oak ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering mimosas in Texas
July 08, 2008 - I have two mimosa trees, about 3 years old. Both were grown from volunteer seedlings. Neither have flowers nor have they produced seed pods. Are they too young or do they need a source of pollenation...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA
July 30, 2013 - Help. I need fast growing tree for backyard privacy. Where in Berkeley is there a tree nursery to Buy Pittosporum trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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