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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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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.

 
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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


 

 

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