Live Oak and Crape Myrtle Dropping Leaves

Daniel Gill  |  7/29/2015 6:47:55 PM

During the spring, my live oaks seemed to drop every leaf on them, which I hadn't noticed before. I've seen them drop a good portion of the leaves but not 100%. After the trees flowered out, they began dropping some of the new leaves. Then my very old crape myrtles began leaf drop, which I don't remember happening before. I've now seen some sort of webbing in the forks of the oaks and crape myrtles. I live in downtown Lake Charles in the Charpentier District. What's going on?

- Steve

It is normal for a live oak to drop all of its leaves in spring. This, however, is highly variable from tree to tree and year to year. Healthy normal live oak trees may drop a small percentage of leaves or all of them.

Leaf drop of the new leaves was likely due to a big outbreak of oak leaf blister disease. It was really bad this year due to the wet spring.

The leaf drop on the crape myrtles is an unrelated fungus called Cercospora leaf spot. It is due to all the rain in early summer - May and June.

The webbing is likely harmless bark lice which are active now.  Click here for more information on bark lice.

None of these issues - oak, crape myrtle and webbing - are related to each other.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

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