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

Saturday - September 07, 2013

From: Gainesville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Problems with Shumard Oaks and Crepe Myrtle in Cooke Co. TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a Shumard Oak Tree that has been in the ground approx. ten years. It has done great, even passing up some of my older Shumards. In August it began to lose its leaves at an alarming rate. They are very green when they fall. They fall single or in clusters. The end of the tree stem is still attached. None of my other Shumards(5)seem to be affected. I live in Gainesville (Cooke Co.) Tx.,just west of I-35. Also my Crepe Myrtle has been attacked by some kind of "Aphid", the leaves are shiny and sticky. Then they turn yellow with black spots and fall. The Shumard is in the back yard, the Crepe is in the front Yard. Could they be related?

ANSWER:

The problems that you describe are not related, and have different culprits involved.

The Crepe Myrtle, although it is widely planted all over Texas and the southern US, is a non native from southeast Asia. You are probably right to suspect aphids to be the cause of your problem. I am going to refer you to a previous question  from last August that explains aphids and honey dew, and contains several links that have even more information about aphids and their control.

For the Shumard Oaks Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak), three culprits come to mind. Two are types of longhorn beetles; twig girdlers and twig pruners. Since the fallen twigs have green leaves attached, twig pruners  are more likely causing the damage. Examine the fallen twigs, and if you see a concave end break, cut the twig open; you should find the fat white round-headed borer.

However, if the twigs have a slanted cut end or a sheared-looking end, then squirrels  are probably your culprits.  (more info)

The folks at the Cooke County Office of Texas Agrilife Extension can probably help you examine your twigs.

 

More Trees Questions

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

Tree removal from Austin
November 18, 2013 - Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A lim...
view the full question and answer

Fruiting times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Norhwest
December 30, 2013 - I am looking for information on fruiting/seeds/nuts times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Northwest. Obviously they fruit after they bloom but all I can find is very general information such...
view the full question and answer

Tree for a Missouri yard
March 10, 2012 - Our front yard tree died. We have landscaping that needs shade. We are in Zone 5, looking for a fast/medium growing shade tree that does not produce anything that falls into the grass and will allow t...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing native trees for Manor,TX
August 04, 2005 - A friend wants to plant fast-growing trees to disguise a road on ranchland east of Manor, Texas. Any ideas? Many thanks.
view the full question and answer

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