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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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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - July 05, 2012

From: Spicewood,, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Texas Mountain Laurel oozing sap in Spicewood, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have a Texas mountain laurel that seems to be sweating. Oozing sap with no apparent signs of any type of bore holes, or holes made from any birds.

ANSWER:

Your Texas Mountain Laurel has likely been visited by some egg-laying insects.  Cicadas and Katydids are common causes of sap-oozing on trees and shrubs during the summer months.  Females of many of these insects have very sharp, sword-shaped appendages called ovipositors with which they pierce the surface of tree trunks and stems and lay their eggs beneath.  This piercing leaves a razor-thin wound in the bark of the plant that is nearly invisible, but through which sometimes copious amounts of sap may ooze.

Most plants have little ill-effect from being violated in this way.  However, large-scale ovipositing by some insect species can harm or even kill some plants.

Contact your AgriLife Extension Service agent for more information on this topic.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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