Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Tuesday - July 28, 2009

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Elimination of live oak adventitious sprouts in San Angelo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Live oak sprouts. The main tree was removed several years ago and we still have the sprouts coming up in the yard. How do we stop this?

ANSWER:

Seedlings coming up beneath the tree and adventitious root sprouts ("suckers") are two different things. The seedlings have instructions in their seeds about making roots and starting to get nutrition from the soil. The adventitious sprouts have roots, all right, but it's the main tree root, itself. They are the root's fight for life. It is trying to get some more "branches" out to grow some leaves, get some sun and start performing photosynthesis to keep the roots alive. If you remove that sucker, you have removed it from its root. If there is still trunk remaining above the ground, you could try the painting method. Get a disposable foam paintbrush and some full-strength broad spectrum herbicide. Cut across the remaining trunk and immediately (within 5 minutes) paint the cut surface with the herbicide. Be very careful doing this, don't allow it to get on the soil or any other plants. The herbicide needs to go on the the cut surface quickly because the roots will start to heal over to protect themselves. The suckers should be removed by digging down several inches and prying them out. Until the roots have been starved to death, you will still get the suckers. 

Here is some related information, Prune for the Love of Live Oaks from your own local newspaper, the Standard-Times, gosanangelo.com, e-edition.  It has some information on suckers.

 

More Trees Questions

Native trees of Hornsby Bend in Austin, TX
April 10, 2013 - We are looking for a list of the trees occurring along and in the vicinity of the Colorado River at Hornsby Bend circa 1820.
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)
August 16, 2009 - What is the growth rate of Mesquite? How long does it take for Mesquite to achieve a 4-6 inch wide trunk? I can't seem to find this information.
view the full question and answer

Pruning Bald Cypress in Wylie, TX
January 02, 2010 - I have a 6 year old bald cypress that sustained damage to the upper portion of its trunk a couple of years ago. Since that time it has grown more outward than upward and developed a rounder shape. I...
view the full question and answer

Need help with my 25 yr old Mountain Ash in Clinton Township, MI.
July 11, 2011 - For the first time our 25yr old mountain ash tree has dying branches, we removed one branch and it seems to have spread to other branches? What should we do?
view the full question and answer

Black walnut herbivory
June 13, 2005 - We moved to Texas just about a year ago and have loved it here. This past January we visited the Wildflower Center and obtained some black walnut seeds. Up until last night the tree was doing well p...
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.