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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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Sunday - December 20, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Are grape vines killing oaks in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have some large live oaks growing in sand on some property I have south of San Antonio that are slowly dying one limb at a time. Some large mustang grape vines are growing in and around them and I think that's the most likely reason they're in trouble. Two of the trees only have one large limb left alive. What are my chances of saving the trees if I cut down the grape vines?

ANSWER:

We are not experts in plant diseases, but we can tell you that if your oaks continue to be covered by grape vines, their large leaves shading the oak leaves from essential sunlight, their chances of living are zero.

For other possibilities, we will refer you to some websites that have specific information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of some common live oak problems:

From TreeHelp.com Oak Wilt

From Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories: Live Oaks in Texas

Since you mentioned no other symptoms (except for death), we couldn't possibly make any recommendations from this distance. If you feel that the shading of the grape vines was not the only possibility, and nothing in our referenced articles struck a chord, we suggest you contact the Texas A&M Agri LIFE Extension Office for Bexar County, which can likely give you more specific help. 

 

 

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