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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - August 24, 2009

From: Mamou, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Trimming live oaks in Mamou LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have 3 large Live Oak trees in our yard. The problem we are having is when we trim a branch off so we can walk under the branch, the whole branch dies back. Is there a certain way to trim the limbs so they will not die ? We like them to hang low.

ANSWER:

First, you might want to learn more about the trees you have. The only live oak native to Louisiana is Quercus virginiana (live oak), which is also native in and around Evangeline Parish, so we are going to assume that is the tree you have. 

These are very fine, valuable trees and deserve good care to keep them healthy and long-lived. Read this article from American Forests Live Oak: The Ultimate Southerner for background on care. For more specific information, go to this USDA Forest Service website How To Prune Trees. There is a Table of Contents, and you should ideally read all the articles, but the most important one at this point is Pruning Practices that Harm Trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

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