En Español

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

Friday - July 13, 2007

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Advisability of trimming oak trees in August
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

In general,what is your opinion on pruning oak trees in August? If it is positive, should the extreme moisture of this year affect the timing?

ANSWER:

New oak wilt centers are started when a contaminated beetle finds a fresh wound on a healthy oak tree. In general, the heat of summer and the cold of winter are the best time to prune to prevent an oak wilt infection because beetle populations are lowest.

That said, insect populations, in general, increase during mild spring like weather and mild spring like weather is when oak wilt fungal mats are most likely to form. So, the most likely time a contaminated beetle will find your tree is when the weather is mild. Given the mild and moist summer we have been having in central Texas, Mr. Smarty Plants would advise not to risk infection by wounding your oaks in August.

If you choose to prune in August, the Texas Forest Service recommends that you always paint pruning cuts as soon as the cuts are made. When pruning cuts are made during the proper times of the year there still maybe a few contaminated nitudulid beetles in the area. If the pruning cuts are painted with a pruning paint or latex paint this will prevent these sapfeeding Nitidulid beetles from feeding and infecting your oak tree with the oak wilt fungus.

To learn more about oak wilt identification, management, and prevention, visit www.texasoakwilt.org.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Berry-looking parasites on live oak leaves
September 20, 2013 - Dripping Springs TX Live oaks. What are these berry looking parasites on my tree's leaves. As many as 4 1/4 in berries per leaf. I have 3 acres with dozens of liveoaks all having them on the leav...
view the full question and answer

Controlling mildew on Gaillarida sp.
August 11, 2005 - Any suggestions for controlling mildew on blanket flower? It's spreading throughout my garden.
view the full question and answer

Rose canker in roses on cedar posts
May 24, 2007 - While visiting the wildflower Center I saw that some of the plants were growing on trellis' made of posts cut from cedar trees. I made a trellis for my climbing rose bush and where the stems touched...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center