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

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: SAN ANTONIO, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Why are my Spanish Oaks dropping branches that appear to be alive?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have two large Spanish Oaks that we planted ourselves. They both have begun to loose large branches that aren't dead. These branches just break off and fall. There is usually a wind, but not to the extent that limbs should fall off the trees. Is this a problem with these trees? Can we do anything to prevent it?

ANSWER:

This doesn't sound like a problem of the Spanish Oaks so much as it sounds like the oaks have some unwanted guests; twig girdlers. These are a type  of wood boring longhorn beetles that girdle twigs and branches and cause them to fall from the tree. Common hosts of the twig girdler include persimmon, pecan, elm, hickory, oak, honeylocust, hackberry, poplar, linden, redbud, basswood, dogwood and various fruit trees.

This Bulletin from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service describes the biology of the girdlers.

Have you examined the ends of the fallen branches? There should be some tell-tale signs if the beetles are the cause.

This article from the Alabama Agricultural Experinent Station has good illustrations of beetle damage.

My suggestion is that you get in touch with the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Bexar County, and show them the branches. They should be able to help you with this problem by identifying the culprit and suggesting treatment.

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Yaupon in bonsai failing to thrive in Lufkin TX
July 16, 2009 - Hi,I have a yaupon that I've turned into a bonsai. It's been producing new vegetation until about a month ago. Then all of a sudden the branches started drooping and the leaf tips started turning bl...
view the full question and answer

White fungus-like growths on plants from Stephenville TX
May 25, 2013 - What is a white fungus-like growth on plants in a garden? It can be seen on the ground in ball-like shapes similar to puff balls or on plants
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaecyparis pisiflora turning brown in Fuqua-Varina NC
December 10, 2012 - I have a "Soft Serve False Cypress" Chamaecyparis pisifera'Dow Whiting PPAF, that has only been in the ground for 6-7 months. I just noticed that the branches and leaves are starting to die, turni...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

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