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

Thursday - July 23, 2009

From: Moore, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves turn yellow to brown, as if the tree has its seasons mixed up. Since middle of June we have had record high temperatures. I would like help diagnosing the problem and hopefully the tree is not dead. I have noticed other trees doing the same thing. I hope it is just the heat and or a water problem. Your answer could help many others just in my neighborhood area.

ANSWER:

The Nuttall Oak (Quercus nuttalli)  is also known as Quercus texana (Texas red oak), and this is the name that is used in our Native Plant Information Network (NPIN) Database. If you click on the link above, you will get the NPIN page that describes the tree and tells about its growth characteristics and habitat. Scroll down the page to the USDA link which shows its distribution. Two points to note; its native habitat includes flood plains and bottomlands, and Oklahoma is not included in its natural distribution.

Our first thought is that the tree is suffering from transplant shock. This is a rather large tree to transplant, and the root system has not grown enough to keep up with the water demand in the hot and dry conditions. Pruning is sometimes suggested as a relief for transplant shock, but pruning red oaks in the summer is an invitation for infestation with Oak Wilt. A slow drip of water with a hose into the root area every other day for a week or two may help.

If you had the tree planted by a reputable nursery, they should be able to offer some suggestions. The service of a certified arborist can also be helpful, and this link to the International Society of Arboriculture will help you find one in Oklahoma City.

Here is an answer to a previous question regarding transplant shock in oak trees that may prove helpful.

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Trimming a rock rose in Richardson TX
March 11, 2009 - I have a Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)in my garden. I cannot find any information on how to trim or whether I should trim this plant. If so when? Mine is pretty much growing all over the place and...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Citrus Suckers
October 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, you are the only person that has "not" insisted that the little balls on Satsuma and lemon trees were clumps of bugs. They are surely what you described in the answer to my previo...
view the full question and answer

When may I remove seed heads from yuccas?
June 07, 2010 - Soft tip yuccas dominate my home's landscape. When is the best time to remove the heavy seed heads after flowering? In addition to being difficult to work around, the pods seem to attract infestatio...
view the full question and answer

Cold damage to Texas wild olive tree in San Antonio
May 02, 2010 - I have a Texas Olive tree that was unprotected from the 2010 cold winter here in San Antonio, TX. It is the end of April and there is no sign of growth on any of the branches. If the tree is still a...
view the full question and answer

Safe time to trim live oak trees
June 20, 2008 - 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...
view the full question and answer

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