En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - July 06, 2014

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Live Oak Suckers Reprise, Austin TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


Referring to an entry dated March 11, 2011 about Live Oak suckers - what happened to the suckers covered with newspaper and cardboard?


  Wow - You're checking up on me!   I actually think that this experiment was relaively successsful.

For reference, this is the question/answer pair referred to and the recommendation was to clean up the suckers then cover the area with cardboard/newspaper to keep them down.

  At the time of the question, we had already prepared and covered the area at least the previous fall.  So, in my undocumented experiment:

- For about the first two years this treatment very successfully suppressed the shoots, only a few crept past the edges and were easily removed with garden shears.  The cardboard remained relatively intact.

- on years three to four, the shoots would often penetrate the edges of the cardboard and shoot removal made for a full morning job.  The cardboard was clearly starting to fall apart.

- I believe this year is year 4+.   In selected broad areas the shoots are back and coming up quite healthy [where the cardboard was disturbed].  Other areas are still pretty suppressed, but the cardboard is giving out throughout. I'm thinking that come the Fall a new treatment will be needed.

As I stated before, I consider this a success and intend to keep it going. 


From the Image Gallery

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

More Trees Questions

Small Yard Tree for Washington DC
July 20, 2012 - What do you suggest for a tree or shrub in my front yard? The yard is small; 9 ft x 12 ft. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Browning leaves on recently planted chinkapin oak in Rockwall TX
June 09, 2010 - I just planted a chinkapin oak that is about 1 1\2 inches thick last week and now some of the leaves are turning brown. Does that mean its dying? Do you have any tips that I could use to protect it?
view the full question and answer

Cold tolerance of Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)
January 13, 2010 - I live in Austin, and I'm considering planting an Anacacho Orchid Tree. How cold tolerant is it? Would the tree have been damaged in the recent 18 degree temperatures we experienced?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a small tree for cemetery in NH.
August 30, 2012 - I would like suggestions for picking a SMALL tree for a rural cemetery in Winchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE. Would the delicate Japanese Elm be suitable for the weather, etc?
view the full question and answer

Black walnut herbivory
June 13, 2005 - We moved to Texas just about a year ago and have loved it here. This past January we visited the Wildflower Center and obtained some black walnut seeds. Up until last night the tree was doing well p...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center