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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 09, 2009

From: Belton, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Pruning an oak tree in Missouri in February
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I prune an oak tree in Missouri in February?

ANSWER:

We would not recommend doing so. Members of the Nitidulidae family of beetles, which spread the fungus causing Oak Wilt, are already active in February. This devastating disease in oak trees, for which there is no cure, is described in this USDA Forest Service website Forest Insect and Disease Leaflet 29, Oak Wilt.  Note that on the map of the United States showing degree of severity of infestations Missouri appears to have a high percentage of infection. Any wound, pruning or otherwise, is an invitation to the beetle to attack the tree. The best time to prune an oak is during a cold snap in December or January. We suggest you contact the University of Missouri Extension Office for Cass County for more specific advisories on care of oak trees in your area.
 

More Trees Questions

Identification of tree with red feathery leaves
March 08, 2012 - What is the name of a tree with dark red leaves, feathery, slim trunk; maybe in the pepper family? Jedi?
view the full question and answer

Removing leaves before transplanting from Miami
August 27, 2009 - What is good idea to remove some leaves before transplanting a plant??
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

Final size of a Texas mountain laurel
August 11, 2014 - I have purchased a Texas Mountain Laurel. The plant tag says it will grow 25 to 35 feet. LBWF plant data base says 10 to 15 feet. Which data should I go with? It's either plant close but not close to...
view the full question and answer

Colony of bees nesting in sycamore
July 06, 2010 - I have a very large, old sycamore tree that has recently become home to a colony of honey bees. They have taken up dwelling in a hollow limb of the tree about 25 feet off the ground. While this is gre...
view the full question and answer

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