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 - April 26, 2010

From: Albany, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Failure to bud out of nuttall oak in Albany GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted a nutall oak in the fall of 09. It seemed to fare well during the winter. It is now spring and all of our other trees are budding out. The limbs are flexible. Not breaking off easily like the tree is alive. Yet not budding out. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

First, let's establish the Latin name for your oak. This once was Quercus nuttalli, but we discovered that is a no-longer used synonym for Quercus texana (Texas red oak). Ever so often, botanists in their infinite wisdom decide to change the names of lots of plants. Some retailers are obviously still using the name "Nuttall,' which was named "nuttalli"  in 1927 for Thomas Nuttall, a British-American botanist. So, we'll call the Nuttall oak, Quercus Texana. In spite of its new name, this USDA Plant Profile shows that it does grow in or near Dougherty County in southwest Georgia. Having established that it does belong where it is growing, we will need to look for some other reason for your tree not budding out, yet.

You didn't say what size your tree was when it was planted. Sometimes a newly planted tree will have a certain amount of transplant shock. It is working very hard to get its roots established to get nutrients and water up to the part of the tree which should be budding out. Also, southern Georgia, with most of the rest of the country, had a pretty severe winter, with surprise freezes. Again, for a newly planted tree, this could be retarding its development. Do the thumbnail test, scratching a very thin bit of the outer skin off, beginning at the top and working down. At some point, you should find a thin layer of green beneath that outer skin; if you do not, going clear down to where it emerges from the soil, the tree is probably dead. 

What do we suggest? Patience; if is still alive it will get its leaves out soon, they are needed to manufacture food through photosynthesis for the whole tree. Do not fertilize!  Native plants ordinarily don't need any fertilizer at all, and certainly don't need it shocking the roots and trying to encourage bloom from a tree still trying to keep its roots alive.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Quercus texana

Quercus texana

Quercus texana

Quercus texana

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Arborvitae and flower garden fighting for space in Seattle WA
May 22, 2010 - Hi, I put in dozens of Arbovitae, mature evergreen trees, 4 yrs ago for privacy. They are doing well, but I was surrounding a flower garden which now appears to be suffering due to the root system of ...
view the full question and answer

Holes in leaves of wax myrtle from Austin
April 30, 2011 - I just purchased 4 of the 5 gallon Wax Myrtles at the last spring plant sale and after planting them, they are getting eaten by bugs leaving holes in the leaves. I can't find any of the bugs doing th...
view the full question and answer

Washingtonia palms need to be skirted?
August 31, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have five Washingtonia palms on my property that have never been skirted and look rather shabby. The interesting thing is that they have thrived (20-30 ft) here to begin with...
view the full question and answer

Possible identification of Physocarpus opulifolius
June 11, 2007 - Can you please tell me what kind of tree has a maple leaf and a white snowball flower?The young and very small tree was already here when i bought my home,it stands only 7 feet tall with a 2 inch t...
view the full question and answer

Need a native tree for full sun in Hockley, TX
October 27, 2009 - What native trees should I plant for full sun. I am building on a 1/2 acre previously used as grazing land on the original Katy prairie. I need one large shade tree, a few smaller ornamentals, and a...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center