En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 11, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need help with a misshapen Monterey Oak in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

In the Fall of 2008, I purchased a very tall Monterey Oak from TreeFolks at the Burger Center Sale. Since the wind was so high, all the tall trees were on the ground, and I guess that is why I did not notice the long bare trunk between the first set of branches and the top set. After I had it planted, I became aware of a bare area of about 3-4 feet. I decided to see what it developed after becoming establish, hoping it might put out new branches on the bare part. It has not and the new growth this year is another very long whipping stem. Although I have never believed in topping a tree, I feel this one really needs to be cut back to about 12-18 inches above the lowest branches. These branches will need to be cut off anyway and once you do, you will have a twelve foot tree bole with no branches!!! I have attached pictures so you can see what I am talking about. Please let me know what you think should be done with this tree. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is having some difficulty in visualizing your oak, so please go to the Plant Identification Page and follow the directions for submitting photos to us. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Tree topping is really low on our list of tree care techniques. I'm including these two links that will hopefully convince you that topping is not a good idea.

Plant Amnesty

Trees are Good

Another approach to your tree problem is to consult a certified arborist. These three links can help you in your search.

Evaluating and Choosing an Arborist

Web Search Tool to FInd an Arborist

Site to Learn About and FInd a Consulting Arborist


 

 

More Trees Questions

Trees non-toxic for horses in California
May 02, 2011 - I would like to plant next to my pasture. Please send a good variety of nontoxic (for horses) plants for shade. I live in Redding Cal.
view the full question and answer

Clear pungent, liquid oozing from oak tree
June 28, 2010 - I have a large oak that over the last few days has been oozing a pungent, non sticky, clear substance from one specific site (no damage) about the size of a dime. It's attracting quite a few gnats, m...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for property in Washington State
September 29, 2008 - We bought a piece of property on Lake Wenatchee, Washington. It was cleared more than we would like and want to know what types of trees grow well there and can handle the snow. Should I wait until ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for black walnut near septic tank
March 10, 2009 - We have a black walnut tree growing on the sunny side of our house which provides wonderful shade in the summer but it is such a dirty tree. The leaves drop very early as well as small branches and t...
view the full question and answer

Placement of lemon cypress tree in Miami, FL
May 25, 2008 - Where is the best place to have a lemon cypress tree? indoors or out? Presently in south Miami climate, Scott's potting soil, clay pot, with good drainage.
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center