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?

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
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
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

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

Washingtonia palms need to be skirted?
August 31, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have five Washingtonia palms on my property that have never been skirted and look rather shabby. The interesting thing is that they have thrived (20-30 ft) here to begin with...
view the full question and answer

Mimosa shape
November 27, 2007 - I planted a summer chocolate mimosa, and although it has bloomed lovely foliage, it has two main branches growing in a vee shape. Is this normal? Do I need to do anything to spur the growth in a more ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Flame acanthus from Bastrop TX
February 17, 2012 - My flame acanthus never lost leaves off the bottom tier of branches this winter. With the brief warm weather and rain we've had, the top and middle tier of branches have all re-leafed. It is very l...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Desert Hibiscus Coulteri from Lubbock, TX
October 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have in our garden this year 2 volunteer Desert Hibiscus Coulteri----quite lanky! I notice on your website under "comments" someone notes they should be cut back "nearly...
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