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?


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
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


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


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

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

Removal of chickweed from lawns
April 06, 2007 - How do I get Cerastium arvense L. - field chickweed out of my lawn? How can I kill them without hurting my grass? I don't have a clue as to how they got into my lawn, but my lawn is the only one on...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Water loving companions for a vegetable bed in Greenlawn New York
May 25, 2011 - I have a plot in a community garden that has poor drainage in one corner. I've installed raised beds, and that has helped immensely, but I'd like to plant some native plants in the wet corner that c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center