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

Friday - April 16, 2010

From: Floresville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Trees
Title: Failure to bud out of Shumard oaks in Floresville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Question: I have a Shumard red oak (9-10ft tall) that I planted last October as its leaves were turning a brilliant red color. However, it's the only tree that did not bud this spring. I scraped the trunk with my thumb nail and it appears that it's still very green but the finger limbs with the buds seem to have dried or died. I know we had a hard winter(2009-10) for south TX but what would cause this oak not to bud? What can I do to get it to come back this year or is the tree a lost cause? Quick note: I also planted another dozen live and red oak trees at approximately the same time. All the trees budded this spring and are flourishing to date. I use medina organic fertilizer(fertilized when the trees were planted and again this spring prior to budding) and cedar mulch (4-5 in deep). Is there anything else I can do to prevent this from happening to my other trees? I would appreciate any advice. Thank you for your time,

ANSWER:

We agree that the weird weather we have been having, starting with a 2-year drought and high heat, beginning to get some rain again, and then sudden fast freezes in areas not accustomed to them has been a problem for all the native plants in Texas. Moreover, that is a pretty big oak to transplant.

Helium.com Tips for Transplanting Oak Trees:

"Transplanting an oak is a labor-intensive task. Oaks are most easily transplanted when they are small (under three feet tall) and less than three years old. Oaks develop a taproot that often can be almost as long as the tree is tall. Cutting the taproot usually results in the tree dying within months after it is planted. For this reason substantial digging is required so the whole tree (taproot and the root mass) can be removed from the hole."

So, what to do? At this point, nothing is good. No more fertilizer, that can shock roots of a tree under stress. The fact that you have found some green under the bark indicates that there is still a chance the tree will recover. Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) is a red oak and very susceptible to Oak Wilt disease. Don't do any pruning or trimming now, because now is when the Nitidulid beetle is active. That is the little beastie who goes to wounds in trees to dine on the sap, and leaves the fungus disease of Oak Wilt behind. You will want to prune off any branches that do appear to be dead, but give it some time. The best time to prune the Live Oak is between December 1 and February 1. The worst time is between February 15 and June 15. By the time it is safe to prune, you will probably know for sure if the tree is alive or dead. The Shumard Oak grows natively in or near Wilson County, in south central Texas, and should be able to recover. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Quercus shumardii

Quercus shumardii

Quercus shumardii

Quercus shumardii

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Declining wax myrtles in Katy, TX
August 24, 2009 - My wax myrtle bushes were thick and green except for a few on the NE side 6 months ago when we bought the house. Now they are thin, leggy, and dropping leaves like crazy. They seem to be dying one bra...
view the full question and answer

Decline in willow tree in West Virginia
June 15, 2008 - I planted a willow tree about three years ago and it was progressing just beautifully with full leaves this spring in a nice green color. We staked it back about three weeks so it would grow straight...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on 3 year old maple turning brown in Lebo, KS.
July 16, 2011 - Hello, one of our five Maple trees which is is 3 yrs. old now, we saw a week ago that the leaves started turning brown and dropping. My question is: Will the tree survive this and return healthy next ...
view the full question and answer

Need help controling suckers from an ornamental plum in San Pedro, CA.
August 10, 2010 - I have an ornamental plum tree in my garden which produces a lot of suckers in my vegetable beds. I do not want to use harmful chemicals and cutting them back is a hopeless venture and leaves small...
view the full question and answer

Elimination of dirt dauber insects
August 18, 2006 - Hello - I live in the southeast part of Guadalupe Co. in the post oak savanna area. Do you have any suggestions on how to control dirt dauber dirt/mud nests. I know these critters are beneficial, bu...
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