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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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Friday - November 17, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Possible woodpecker damage in Monterrey Oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in NW Austin and have two Monterey Oak trees, each about 30 - 45 gal in size. They both were planted approximately 9 months ago. Both trees seem to have some cracking bark on the trunk along with little bore holes that appear to have some type of blackish sap coming out of them that has since dried to the trunk of the tree. I am curious as to what this is, how I can treat it (if I can at all) and/or what I should do. Please help as I don't want these little fellas to die!

ANSWER:

It sounds as if a woodpecker, going after insects, may have drilled the little holes in your tree. It is possible that you have borers, but it would be highly unusual for young, healthy trees to be affected by boring insects. Probably this is a one-time occurrence; but if you see more bark-splitting or weeping holes, you might want to contact a certified arborist or your Travis County Extension Agent for advice.
 

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