Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
5 ratings

Thursday - March 06, 2008

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Live oak sprouts in lawn and flower beds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several live oak trees that keep putting up sprouts in my lawn and flower beds. Is there any way to prevent this ?

ANSWER:

In Wimberly, you most likely have either Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) or Quercus virginiana (live oak) growing in your yard. If you read the webpages on these live oaks you will note they both recommend reproduction from freshly fallen acorns.

So, here are two possibilities for the origin of those sprouts. One is that they are sprouting from acorns dropped from the trees, possibly washed into flower beds or some other location by rainwater, etc. In that event, picking up every acorn when they are dropped will certainly prevent them from sprouting. It will also possibly cripple your back, but you can try raking them into piles and scooping them up. The other way oak trees sprout is by sprouting from roots. This is how mottes of live oaks form in the wild. If you have lawn grasses that you mow, that should keep the sprouts down, at least during mowing season. However, the most effective prevention is to cut off that sprout two to four inches below the soil level. Do not attempt to use any herbicide on these sprouts, as that could damage your existing tree.

All the sprouts not prevented by the first two suggestions are, sorry, going to have to be pulled out of the ground. If you get to them early enough, they're fairly easy to get out, but they do have a long taproot and definitely resist being pulled.


Quercus fusiformis

Quercus virginiana

 

 

More Turf Questions

Habiturf for shady areas in San Antonio TX
November 08, 2013 - Will the Habiturf grass mentioned here do well in shady areas too?
view the full question and answer

Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
October 26, 2009 - I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?
view the full question and answer

Difficult lawn redo in Austin, TX area.
April 01, 2010 - In Oak Hill section of Austin and our 2 year old house had St Augustine dumped atop the raped soil. After the drought of 09 it is all dead. We have most of our large yard native but need grass aroun...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for a lawn in Wimberley, Texas
April 25, 2010 - Is there a lawn grass that will go dormant with no water at all and come back? ..in Wimberley? our native grass didn't survive the drought.
view the full question and answer

Mowing Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)
July 05, 2014 - Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Although I see you have posted some information about mowing Buffalograss it doesn't seem to answer my question. Will it hurt to mow the buffalograss flags off? Will t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.