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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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Monday - August 02, 2010

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Oak saplings in Boerne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there anything I can do to kill the oak tree saplings that come up around my oak tree? I have a nice raised flower bed around the tree and now it's full of these saplings. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

This is a very popular question this time of year. Rather than refer you to the numerous previous questions we have answered on the subject, see this excerpt from one of them:

The sprouts coming up could either be suckers off the roots of your existing oaks, or seedlings from a very good crop of acorns. Either way, they need to be physically removed, by pulling them out. If the terrain permits, you could try mowing very low. If you deny the roots of acorn seedlings the ability to produce leaves long enough, the roots (and the seedling) will starve. 

No, there is no spray you can use, it would kill plants around it and even the parent tree. Mow it or pull it out, and stay ahead of it.  Any acorns that fall should be quickly picked up and discarded. If you wait for the squirrels to get them, they will just go plant them in some nice soft dirt, probably in your flower bed. If they have gotten to "sapling" size, you may have to go after them with a shovel, so try not to let them get that big. 

 

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