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

Monday - July 30, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Something dripping from red oak in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There is a large red oak outside my apartment. The leaves are shiny and covered with what appears to be oil. The ground underneath is coated with this also. When I parked under the tree my car became covered with oil. It came off easily at the carwash. I don't see any bees or insects and the tree appears healthy. It could be sap, except that it seems to be coming from the leaves. My main concern is that this is possibly an insect infestation.

ANSWER:

Because we are hearing about so much dripping from trees, frequently from oaks, that we are going to take a chance and send you links to some previous answers. It seems to be an absolute epidemic in Austin this year, possibly because of the weird weather.

Austin, July 14, 2012

Boca Raton, FL July 10, 2012

These were just the most recent on the subject. We have about 100 questions on aphids in our previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions.

Since this oak is apparently on the grounds at your apartment, you should probably alert the management to have their garden maintenance people examine it. Emphasize, NO HERBICIDE! The herbicide will kill beneficials (like lady bugs) that feed on the aphids and not faze the aphid eggs waiting to hatch into more aphids.

 

More Pests Questions

Aluminum foil disorienting insects under plants from Brierfield AL
April 20, 2011 - Does covering the ground under plants frequently attacked by flea beetles with aluminum foil really disorient the insects? But does it also disorient beneficial insects?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native parsley from Brooklyn NY
June 17, 2012 - Had beautiful flat leaf parsley plants recently turn yellow & die. Found black armadillo like bugs bored throughout the roots. Now they're spreading. How do I kill them without contaminating the pla...
view the full question and answer

What's invading my bermuda grass?
June 11, 2013 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
view the full question and answer

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

Possible leaf cutter ants in Elgin, TX
December 08, 2014 - I've planted many beautiful native vines and flowering plants this fall. However, in the past week I've noticed something has been eating these plants, including coral honeysuckle vine, salvia, and ...
view the full question and answer

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