En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Young oak tree with dead branches

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

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

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Cypress poisonous to livestock from Arlington, TN
December 06, 2012 - Are green giant cypress poisonous to livestock?
view the full question and answer

School children planting trees native to Oklahoma and North Texas
December 07, 2009 - Hello, I'll be going into grade school classrooms to teach children how to plant trees. Perhaps they will each plant a seed in a cup to take home to plant in their yard. I may even be able to get see...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mountain Laurel in Leander TX
June 15, 2009 - My 13 yr old Mountain Laurel tree is sick. It has lost most of its leaves after blooming this spring. The twigs seem to still be pliable so I assume alive. I saw no moth worms or bags this year, ju...
view the full question and answer

Oak sap dripping on driveway in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Why would oak sap be dripping on driveway at this time when other oaks the neighbors have are not.
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center