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

Possible reasons for yellowing leaves in seedlings in Ohio
June 19, 2006 - I have a problem with my seedlings. They start yellowing of one leaf then die. When I remove the leaf another one starts. I have photos. I have two differant seedling plants and they are experiencing...
view the full question and answer

Powdery growth in hydrangea in Philadelphia
June 20, 2010 - My hydrangea plants have a weird growth on their leaves that looks like white rice. It looks like it would be powdery if brushed, but I don't want to touch it for fear that it some type of mold. Any...
view the full question and answer

Red spots on white flower of Anemopsis californica
July 05, 2009 - Do you know what the red spots are on the white flower of the California native, Anemopsis californica? Is it a fungus, insect, or just physiological?
view the full question and answer

Hollies not retaining leaves in Tulsa
August 10, 2008 - I have Little Red Hollies that have lost their leaves, some areas being bald. They are also not full - you can see through them. These were planted in this condition Spring of '08 and have been wat...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in high zinc, lead and copper soil in Los Angeles
January 24, 2011 - We live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have just been given the bad news that our beds are high in zinc (86.39), lead (45.98) and copper(12.95). Can you recommend some plants that may grow in thes...
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