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
4 ratings

Friday - June 20, 2008

From: Bynum, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Safe time to trim live oak trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband heard that it's not good to trim them. Is this true? If not, is it safe to trim them back now? Our temps are in the high 90s. Thanks! Debbi

ANSWER:

Trimming them is just fine, but the timing of the trimming is crucial. The reason for the concern is oak wilt. The beetles responsible for spreading the fungus that causes oak wilt are most active during the warm spring weather. They are still around the rest of the year but are least active during the hottest months of summer and during cold spells of our winters here in Texas. Please see the answer to a recent question to learn more details about oak wilt and measures to prevent it.

Before you trim your oak trees be sure to read "Guidelines for Proper Pruning to Prevent Oak Wilt Infection" by Kim Camilli (Oak Wilt Coordinator, Texas Forest Service) and "Studies on Pruning Cuts and Wound Dressings for Oak Wilt Control" by Kim Camilli, David N. Appel, and W. Todd Watson. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 2007. 33(2):132-139. Also, visit the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership page for more information.

Additionally, you probably should check with your Hill County Extension Agent to learn about the current status of oak wilt in your county.

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Removal of yaupon stumps in Midland TX
March 31, 2010 - How is the best way to remove Yaupon tree stumps? We have 4 of them.
view the full question and answer

Pruning Trees in Austin, TX
April 05, 2013 - I have lots of green growth sprouting on the trunks of mature trees. Should I trim them off?
view the full question and answer

Tidying up Copper Canyon Daisies in San Antonio
March 30, 2010 - We have a small bed with 4 copper canyon daisies. We cut them back in the fall but have not pruned them during growing season; as a result they become a big tangle by September. Should they be pruned ...
view the full question and answer

How to prune Opuntia ellisiana in Decatur, GA.
August 20, 2009 - Hi Mr SP--How do I go about pruning an Opuntia ellisiana? I have saws, newspaper, heavy leather gloves, goggles, etc. But my question is more about what section of the plant to cut. The base has de...
view the full question and answer

Center of Yucca filamentosa looking rotten in Howell, NJ
May 31, 2009 - I live in central NJ. I planted some Adam's Needle Yucca in my garden around 5 years ago. Since then, they kept growing and ended up developing three trunks off of the main trunk. I noticed recentl...
view the full question and answer

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