There have been a lot of people calling in around Austin asking why their live oaks have defoliated so early. The fact is our live oaks here in Austin have been under a great deal of stress over the last few years. We have had unusual droughts and even though live oaks are drought tolerant, the drought still has taken a toll on them.
I have 70 live oaks in my own yard and there are a cluster of 4 of them that look grey and have been defoliating early every year. I thought I was out of the woods a year ago when they developed a thick, dense green foliage only to have them develop the same issue this year. I have had them on a deep root fertilization program over the last 2 years and I hope these issues with these important trees will begin to resolve themselves but we also need help from Mother Nature.
Speaking with several well known arborists around the Austin area, it seems that no one knows the exact diagnosis of this situation other than they are just stressed. Our trees throughout Austin are our greatest asset to the beauty of the area and lets all work together to find a solution to our drought problems and how it affects our trees.