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 - October 05, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Soils, Trees
Title: Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?

ANSWER:

How recently? If you planted it in hot weather, which in Central Texas is just about any time except November to January, the trees may be suffering from transplant shock. Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak), while native to Texas, grows more commonly in areas north of Texas and likes acidic soils, which you are not likely to have in Central Texas. However, we have seen some beautiful specimens of this tree growing right here in Austin, so we know it is viable here. We also would like to mention the "great soil" you planted your tree in. Was this with ample compost added to the soil to facilitate drainage? A lot of soils in Central Texas, in addition to being alkaline, are also clays which, without amending for better drainage, can trap water around the roots and cause problems. We can't answer the question as to whether you should be worried; only tell you what the causes of browning leaves might be. Since it has been so dry and hot here, that alone could have been the cause. We recommend you watch and wait, and begin to worry if the tree does not leaf out again next Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

More Soils Questions

Failure to thrive of Hamelia patens in Laredo
September 19, 2008 - I have a question regarding Hamelias patens(firebush)that I have been trying to grow for 2 years. I live in Laredo, Texas and this area should be an excellent climate for this plant. I planted 12 of t...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing oak-leaf hydrangea in Comal County, TX
January 08, 2005 - In the last issue of the magazine, there was an item about the oak leaf hydrangea which stated the plant's habitat is east of the Mississippi River. Can it be grown in Comal County? Any special nee...
view the full question and answer

High water table in Glewood Springs CO
March 03, 2012 - We are considering the purchase of a home in Glenwood Springs, CO (elev. Approximately 5,000 ft) and find it strange that while neighboring properties in the subdivision have beautiful landscaping wit...
view the full question and answer

Effects of patio under large tree
July 17, 2008 - I would like to put in a patio under a fairly large tree. I understand a tree needs some open ground around it for air and water. Can I use flagstone leaving 6-10 inches of space between the stones?...
view the full question and answer

Changing the pH of the soil
January 16, 2012 - Hi, We have a job that has mostly Texas native plants on it. The architect is wanting to drop the pH levels of the soils to acidic levels that we don't feel is good for the plants and the area. ...
view the full question and answer

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