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
2 ratings

Wednesday - October 01, 2008

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Replacement for dead oak tree after hurricane
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. Smarty Plants, It still is hard to believe but my dead Oak tree survived H.Ike! Now that I've gotten that dreaded letter from the HOA, they want me to replace it with at least a 45 gallon tree. Is it an old wives tale that you can't plant another oak there? I'd be glad to send a picture of this sad tree. I was thinking of replacing it with LBJ Magnolia tree. Any thoughts?


Hurricane Ike was truly a disaster, and this is the second question we have received from Pearland on tree replacements. See this previous answer, which covers types of oaks recommended for replacement by an HOA. We mention this because we're curious as to why your oak tree died. You didn't say what oak you have, but you'll notice in the answer we linked you to that several oaks are very susceptible to oak wilt.  We couldn't find any substantiation to the idea that you could not plant another oak where one had already grown. Oaks do provide themselves with some protection from other plants encroaching on their territory, defending root space, nutrient availability and water, as do many other plants; see this previous answer on allelopathy of oaks. But, if your tree died of some disease, if for no other reason, we would recommend you not replace it with another oak, at least not one susceptible to oak wilt. 

We would recommend that you get a trained arborist to assist you with this. In the first place, removal of the dead oak is going to be necessary, including checking for disease. In the second place, planting a 45 gallon tree is a job for specialized equipment and knowledgeable personnel. If your HOA did not give you a list of replacement trees from which to choose, we have three that we would recommend, including a magnolia, since you indicated you were interested in planting one.

Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia) - relatively fast-growing, difficult to grow anything under it because of deep shade, evergreen

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) resistant to oak wilt, drought resistant, long-lived, relatively fast-growing, resistant to air pollution

Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) - hardy, drought resistant, adaptable to broad range of soil types

Magnolia grandiflora

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus macrocarpa

Ulmus crassifolia




More Trees Questions

Safety of hyrbrid and non-native trees for dogs and horses from Lawton OK
March 25, 2013 - Are Arrowwood Viburnum tree, Sargent Crabapple tree & the Washington Hawthorn tree safe for dogs & horses?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Roots in mulch around Live Oak in Austin
March 10, 2011 - I have a 20 yr old Live Oak that has about 6-8 inches of mulch buildup around the base (I had landscaped around it). I went to break up the mulch to remove it from the base of the tree, but found it ...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Does Chilopsis linearis, var.Bubba produce seed pods? No.
October 01, 2007 - We have a really beautiful 2-year old Bubba, Desert Willow. It is already about 12 feet tall. I really have two questions. One does the Bubba form the seed pods like the other types of Desert Willows?...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center