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?

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
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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 24, 2008

From: Uvalde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Trees
Title: Moving a red oak away from the house foundation
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

About a 3 weeks ago I noticed a 5 ft. red oak growing in my flower bed. I hadn't noticed it growing up through my shrubs until the leaves turned bright red. The problem is that its coming up about two feet from my house. I like the tree and would like to leave it where it is but I'm guessing the root system will eventually cause problems. If I keep the limbs trimmed away from the house until it passes the roofline will it still be problematic? Should I cut it down? Thank You.

ANSWER:

There are several oaks in Texas that are called red oaks; Quercus texana (Texas red oak), Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak). Each can make a handsome addition to the landscape of your yard if they are in the proper place. Unfortunately, growing two feet from the foundation of your house is not the proper place. This has the potential of causing problems with the foundation of your house as well as the growth of the tree.

One possibility, of course, is to cut it down. However, if you are into challenges, you might want to try to dig it up and transplant it somewhere in the yard twenty to thirty feet from the house. Read the descriptions of the mature trees in the sources above to help you decide on a location for planting.

At five feet, the tree is almost too large to transplant, but if you are careful to get as much root as possible with minimal damage, there is a chance of success. You need to attempt the transplant right away; don't wait for spring to pass you by.

Two information sources, Backyard Conservation and Urban Forestry, can provide you with the know-how to succeed in this project.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

More Trees Questions

Will smoketrees (Cotinus sp.) grow in the Texas Panhandle region
June 03, 2010 - Will smoke trees grow in the Lubbock-Amarillo, Texas region of Texas?
view the full question and answer

Wind damage to pecan tree in Royse City, TX
June 14, 2009 - The wind broke my pecan tree trunk in two. It is approximately 2 in caliper and about 15 feet tall. Is there a tree trunk repair?
view the full question and answer

Lighting for the Wildflower Center from Austin
December 16, 2012 - Hello Mr Smarty, On a recent night trip to the Center, there was an oak that was beautifully lit for the holidays. It seemed to come from one ground light, but cast hundreds of glistening "stars"...
view the full question and answer

Natural Privacy Planting for New Jersey
October 09, 2013 - I have a question about privacy plantings in New Jersey (Monmouth County). We have a wooden fence around the perimeter of backyard with some various older trees. We wanted to start anew and wanted to ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native mulberry tree for Woodlands, TX.
November 22, 2010 - Does a truly "native" mulberry tree exist and where can one get such a tree. So many I've seen are "white" or "chinese" and were imported for a never-to-happen silk industry. I'd like to pur...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center