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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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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!

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Monday - August 20, 2012

From: Sinton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Wasps on live oaks from Sinton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Wasps on my live oak trees. What is attracting them? Does this hurt the tree?

ANSWER:

Believe it or not, wasps are considered beneficial insects. Anyone who has ever blundered into a wasp nest and paid for the mistake is not going to believe that. No doubt what you have in your live oaks are aphids. Here are a couple of previous questions about them; they have been a terrific problem in Texas this summer.

Lakeway TX August 14, 2012

Austin, July 22, 2012

Now, read these two university websites on the aphid problem. Remember, the aphids can damage your tree, and insecticides will kill beneficials like wasps and ladybugs and leave aphid eggs safe to hatch again.

Battleground in your Backyard Washington State University scroll down to page 6, Parasitoids

Colorado State University Extension Aphids on Shade Trees

 

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