En Español

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
2 ratings

Friday - April 10, 2009

From: Schertz, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Young oak tree with dead branches
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I purchased my home new a year ago and we have three young oak trees that came with the house. Two of the trees are doing great and their new leaves have grown in. One tree however still has dead leaves on it. The branches appear to be dead but there are new shoots growing from the trunk. It's about 7 1/2 feet tall amd the trunk is about 6 inches in diameter. What should we do? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

If the branches are really dead, there isn't any way to revive them.  However, it sounds as if there is at least some life left in the tree.  You can wait a bit to see if it continues to leaf out further up the trunk and onto any of the branches or parts of the branches.  This is probably not likely, but you don't really have anything to lose by waiting a few weeks. When you are convinced that you know what part is dead, prune it away and let the rest grow out as it will.  This may give you a strange-shaped tree.  I would give it a good soaking periodically until you determine how much is dead.  If you are convinced it is mostly dead, you might want to start over with another young tree. 

If you do decide to prune, you should consider carefully what time of year you do it. Oak wilt is a serious disease of several species of oaks that occur in or adjacent to Guadalupe County—Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak), Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak), Quercus fusiformis (plateau live oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak), and Quercus virginiana (live oak).  Other oaks in your area—Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak), Quercus stellata (post oak) and Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak)—are less susceptible to the fungus that causes oak wilt.

To help prevent oak wilt the Texas Forest Service recommends NOT pruning oak trees from February through June—the period of the year when the beetles that transfer the fungus to the tree are most active. Additionally, no matter what time of year it is, you should paint cuts and wounds with tree wound paint as soon as they are made.

 

More Trees Questions

Texas Mountain Laurel oozing sap in Spicewood, TX.
July 05, 2012 - We have a Texas mountain laurel that seems to be sweating. Oozing sap with no apparent signs of any type of bore holes, or holes made from any birds.
view the full question and answer

Need help with a 50 ft Tulip Tree with storm damage in Brownsburg, IN.
June 30, 2010 - I have a 50 ft Tulip tree that suffered storm damage. One for the main branches split at the top fork and fell. It has left about 6 ft of exposed wood but there are still a couple of main branches in...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
May 20, 2013 - Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
view the full question and answer

Blooms on Desert Willow withering quickly in Rockwall TX
July 15, 2010 - Why do the blooms on my Desert Willow dry up and wither away in one or two days?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center