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

Planting live oak trees in summer in Austin
June 09, 2011 - We would like to plant a few live oak trees in our front yard for shade and animal protection. As it is very hot and dry right now, can we plant now? If not, when?
view the full question and answer

Need a tree with a tap root for a small flower bed in Winston-Salem, NC..
May 20, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I am looking for a tree 6-10', somewhat spreading, could flower (not essential) to serve as a focal point in a small bed with small shrubs and perennials. I need a tree with ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Post Oaks
July 26, 2014 - I live in Houston and have two post oaks. One is right by my house. I'd like to trim them but was told they are sensitive and might die if I trim them. Is this true? What is the right course of ac...
view the full question and answer

Lifespan of pecan from Austin
February 26, 2014 - What is the lifespan of a pecan tree? I've seen several places say up to a thousand years, but I'd always thought it was closer to around 300 years. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Madrones in Michigan?
November 01, 2010 - Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center