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

Thursday - September 09, 2010

From: Driftwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

When is the best time to trim oak trees?

ANSWER:

This is kind of like a word association game: you say "black", I say "white"; you say "night", I say "day"; you say "trim oak trees", I say "oak wilt". This is because oak wilt is one of the most destructive tree diseases in the United States and is killing oak trees in Central Texas in epidemic proportions. It is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Ceratocyctis fagacearum which invades and disables the water-conducting system in susceptible trees. Oakwilt is spread by tiny wood boring beetles called nitidulid beetles that are attracted to the sap of oak trees. Fresh wounds in oaks draw these beetles like honey draws flies. The adult beetles carry spores of the infecting fungus on their bodies as they go from tree to tree and thus spread the disease.

Does this mean you can never trim you oak trees? No, but as in a lot of things, timing is everything. And, all species of oaks are not equaly susceptible to oak wilt. The nitidulid beeltes are least active in very cold weather and very hot weather, ie. in mid-winter and mid-summer (like right now). 

Mr. Smarty Plants suggests reading the material from the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership and the Texas Forest Service to become more knowledgable about oak wilt and the care of your oak trees. This article from  the USDA  is very extensive, and tells you more about oak wilt than you probably want to know. It is well-illustrated.

The Texas Forest Service also has an online article How to Prune Trees that should be helpful.

 

More Pruning Questions

Time for trimming oaks from Boerne TX
July 03, 2012 - I want to trim a native red oak but am scared to touch it because I dont want to lose it. It is the primary source of shade in our back yard. Also I want to trim the live oaks and am surrounded with O...
view the full question and answer

Trimming a rock rose in Richardson TX
March 11, 2009 - I have a Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)in my garden. I cannot find any information on how to trim or whether I should trim this plant. If so when? Mine is pretty much growing all over the place and...
view the full question and answer

Rose care for Austin
August 18, 2013 - I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
view the full question and answer

Cleaning up Adams Needle yucca in Vancouver Island BC
May 19, 2009 - We have Adam's needle yucca's in our the flower bed of our newly purchased home here on Vancouver Island BC. They thrive and produce impressive flowers. How do I clean them up in the spring time ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Trees in Austin, TX
April 05, 2013 - I have lots of green growth sprouting on the trunks of mature trees. Should I trim them off?
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