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

Monday - November 23, 2009

From: Lakeland, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Controlling live oak sprouts in Lakeland FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We had a live oak taken down last year. We now have sprouts we cannot get rid of and they continue to multiply invading the lawn. We did not have this problem so much when the tree was there. Is there an effective herbicide we can use to get rid of the residual sprouts/root system?

ANSWER:

This is a common problem when a tree is taken down. Those sprouts represent the attempt by the tree to survive. You have taken away all the leaves that formerly provided food to the rest of the tree. But, the root is still alive, and it is putting out those little sprouts from the existing roots. They are functioning as small branches and leaves to keep the root alive. The first thing we would suggest is to mow that area, with the mower pretty low. If you keep this up long enough, eventually the original roots will starve. More directly, if the trunk is still where you can cut some more of it off, you can use a disposable sponge brush to paint the freshly cut surface with a wide spectrum herbicide. It has to be painted within 5 minutes, because the tree will be hastily trying to seal that cut to protect it. The herbicide should then be absorbed into the roots and at least begin to slow them down. The process will probably have to be repeated, and you still need to stay after the sprouts or suckers in the lawn. Be very careful with the herbicide, don't spill any on the ground and don't spray. You will end up killing things you didn't want to.
 

More Trees Questions

Small native trees/shrubs for Corpus Christi, TX
July 02, 2012 - Which small native trees or tall shrubs would do well in full sun in Corpus Christi for privacy along a fence line? Blooms are a bonus and evergreen is preferred.Searches on the website aren't produc...
view the full question and answer

Juniperus virginiana and some pines for Florida
July 11, 2007 - I live in Pensacola, FL (Northwest Florida, practically lower-coastal Alabama) and I am looking for a medium size tree that will cast shade on my home. The house faces due west and it gets extremely h...
view the full question and answer

Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
April 20, 2012 - I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?
view the full question and answer

Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi
July 31, 2008 - I have a tulip tree in my yard that blooms in the spring that is about 10-15 years old. However just this past week or so we have noticed that there is lots of white spots on the leaves and the branc...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, tall taproot tree for El Paso
September 01, 2008 - I live in El Paso Texas and would like to know what would be a good shade tree to plant. I would like this tree to grow fast and tall. I would also like the roots to go straight down.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center