Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - December 26, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Trees
Title: Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.

ANSWER:

You are correct, it is never a good idea to allow any sort of mulch, which would include fallen leaves, to collect against the trunk of a tree. This is a good hiding place for insects and fungi which mean your tree no good. If you have the space, they would be good ingredients for composting, but even then, compost should be used as a soil additive, not allowed to pile up again a tree trunk.

 

More Trees Questions

Hardy taproot trees for Oklahoma City
June 13, 2013 - What are some hardy tap root trees for central Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Colorado Blue Spruce tree in Boerne TX
November 11, 2009 - Is it possible to plant Colorado Blue Spruce trees in the Boerne, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel and Desert Willow in pots or ground in Brady, TX
May 09, 2006 - I would really appreciate your advice if a Texas Mountain Laurel (now a 1 gal. size) and a Desert Willow (now a 3 gal.) are good candidates for planting in containers and, if so, what size for each? ...
view the full question and answer

Rocky Stream Bank Plants for Dallas, TX
July 02, 2015 - Need live stake shrubbery or tree ideas for a rocky stream bank prone to high water. Thank you
view the full question and answer

When and how to transplant a Texas persimmon
January 02, 2009 - When and how should I transplant a 12' Texas persimmon? How much root ball do I need to get?
view the full question and answer

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