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
1 rating

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees, Vines
Title: Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and retain it in the landscape. BUT I have heard that if vines climb up into the tops of live oaks they will kill the tree. Is that true? And if so, will that be a problem if I keep the grape next to the live oaks.

ANSWER:

Depends-which do you value most, the grape vine or the tree? Vitis mustangensis (mustang grape) is, indeed, a native of Central and East Texas. It can certainly climb up over a tree, and with its big leaves shade out the leaves of the tree, causing the tree problems and, at worst, death of the tree. When you drive through the countryside in the summer, and you see those huge mounds of vines, that is usually a mustang grape growing over whatever was there. See this page of pictures of the mustang grape from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants from the University of Texas at Austin. The vine is deciduous, which means that in summer it will be draping over and shading your live oak, and in winter, the oak will have dry vines hanging off of it. 

If you really want to keep both the grapevine and the tree, you will need to be vigilant in keeping the vine off the tree, and be very careful not to damage the oak bark when you are pruning the grapevines. The Live Oak is susceptible to Oak Wilt, and from January to June (mainly) the nitiludid beetle that spreads the fatal fungal disease is active and looking for entrances into a tree, like pruning wounds and damage to the bark. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

More Vines Questions

Identification of a wild vine in East Texas
December 17, 2010 - Trying to identify a wild vine that grow 15-20 feet up our trees. The leaves are dark, glossy green about 2-3" long. The edges are smooth and elongated. Each leaf is placed to the right and then the ...
view the full question and answer

Plants that smell like chocolate from Coral Gables FL
July 12, 2012 - I am looking for plants that smell like chocolate. I live in south Florida. We are currently growing and testing Berlandiera lyrata. Do you know of other plants whose flowers smell like chocolate?
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in Louisiana
July 06, 2011 - I have two vines in my backyard. I've looked at pictures of each and they both keep coming up "virginia creeper." However, both are different. Neither causes an allergic reaction. One has leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen flowering vine for wall in Tampa FL
May 06, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Tampa Florida and am looking for a non toxic, evergreen, profusely flowering vine to cover a wall. It needs to be cold hardy to approx. 20F. Thanks for your help
view the full question and answer

Green wall panel for Dallas
August 21, 2007 - We are working on a green wall panel for a hotel near SMU--I see your list of recommended species for green roofs, & wondered if you have any ideas for vertical applications. Probably will have someth...
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