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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.

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Saturday - June 11, 2011

From: Lott, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Live oak trees and possible drought stress in Lott, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

One of our Live Oak trees is losing leaves in only a portion of it. I have researched Oak Wilt and I am not sure that is what it has. We have trees that are hundreds of years old and was wondering if the dry conditions could be contributing to this. I have not watered them very much because of where they are. We live in the country and they are in the back of our land.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty is going to suggest that you contact the folks at the Falls County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension to get a “boots on the ground” assessment of the situation. Oak wilt is always a consideration with Live Oaks, but one of the indicators are fairly distinctive, eg venal necrosis. This link to the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership (you may have already seen it) has lots of information about this disease.

The current drought certainly is putting stress on mature oaks, and could be part of the problem you are experiencing. This answer to a previous question has some useful information about water stress.

SInce the damage sounds like it is localized, a possible cause that I have learned about only recently is squirrels. For some unknown reason, squirrels will strip the bark from limbs and trunks of various kinds of trees, including oaks. The resulting damage can cause the limbs to die and loose their leaves. This link describes the situation.

It is important to get an on site evaluation of your problem to find appropriate solution.

 

 

 

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