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Mr. Smarty Plants - Live oak sprouts in lawn and flower beds

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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

 

 

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