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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 26, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Evergreen replacement for liveoaks with oak wilt in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

One day after moving into our very first home and first home in Texas (just north of the Wildflower center in Sendera Southwest Austin) we discovered that all of our Live Oaks have Oak Wilt. After treating them with root injections we decided to cut them down and start over. (very sad indeed) Now we would like to plant a new shade tree in our treeless back yard that is evergreen and hopefully native (not slow growing). We are afraid to plant any oak variety. Should we be? What do you recommend for us to plant? Thank you so much.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is very sorry about the loss of your liveoaks.

Other than liveoaks—Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), the common liveoak found in Austin—the only other medium or large evergreen tree native to the area is Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar). Quercus vaseyana (sandpaper oak) is evergreen but it tends to be a small tree. It is listed in Know Your Hill Country Oaks as one of "White Oak" group which are resistant to oak wilt. Other oaks native to Central Texas (but not evergreen) in this group are:

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak),

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak),

Quercus stellata (post oak),

Quercus laceyi (Lacey oak), and

Quercus polymorpha (Monterrey oak).

The other oak on the list resistant to oak wilt, Quercus sinuata (bastard oak or shin oak), is generally a very small tree.

Other large trees appearing on our Central Texas Recommended species list are:

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm)

You can access the Central Texas Recommended species list on our web site to see more possibilites for trees. Select the "Narrow Your Search" option to select "Trees" under Habit.

You can also visit the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service and Texas A&M University to customize a search for trees for your yard. You should be aware that unless you select the option for "Texas native" under Option 4, you are likely to get recommended trees that are non-native.

To find out more about oak wilt in Texas, visit TexasOakWilt.org.


Quercus fusiformis

Juniperus virginiana

Quercus vaseyana

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus stellata

Quercus laceyi

Quercus polymorpha

Carya illinoinensis

Juglans nigra

Platanus occidentalis

Ulmus crassifolia

 

 

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