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

Thursday - February 03, 2011

From: West Lake Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have lost up to 30% of their leaves and the largest one has dropped 90% of its leaves and is now nearly barren. Is this one dying? Are they in temporary shock? Should I be doing anything for them or just wait 'til Spring? Hoping for help and praying for good news. Thank you

ANSWER:

You were right to employ a reputable tree company to care for your trees.  Because trees add so much value - monetary and aesthetic - to our homes, we always advise folks to seek the help of certified arborists to care for their trees.

The trimming your arborist did to the tops of your trees in the fall did not cause your live oaks to go into shock.  If any major changes occured in the trees' root zones in the past year that could have caused shock.

Whenever we hear about sudden large-scale leafdrop on live oaks in central Texas, our first concern is Oak Wilt Disease.  The leaves of Oak Wilt infected live oaks will show classic signs of veinal necrosis.  If no leaves have these yellowed or orange veins, you can probably rule out Oak Wilt.

Live oaks, usually considered evergreen, are actually deciduous trees that just happen to drop the past year's leaves at the same time their new leaves are emerging.  This usually happens around the beginning of March in your area.  However, some trees can drop leaves earlier for a variety of reasons.  To be sure, we again recommend having a certified arborist visit with you and your trees to evaluate them and their health.

 

More Trees Questions

Trees for shade in Austin
May 20, 2012 - I live in Austin and I am looking for a good tree to plant under a large live oak I have in my backyard. Something slow-growing of course and, the garden only gets late day sun for about an hour. Filt...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Prosperity SC
May 19, 2013 - I need to know what would be a good tree to plant for blocking my neighbor's home it needs to be an evergreen and slender in the space it would take.
view the full question and answer

Possible allelopathic properties of Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite)
October 02, 2015 - I want to plant a coral honeysuckle at the base of a mesquite tree. Anything in the mesquite that would inhibit the honeysuckle from growing?
view the full question and answer

Browning leaves on recently planted chinkapin oak in Rockwall TX
June 09, 2010 - I just planted a chinkapin oak that is about 1 1\2 inches thick last week and now some of the leaves are turning brown. Does that mean its dying? Do you have any tips that I could use to protect it?
view the full question and answer

Problem with Arizona Ash in Leander TX
March 10, 2011 - What would make my otherwise healthy Arizona Ash tree, that was doing so well last year, only bud out on just one side?
view the full question and answer

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