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

Non-branching mimosa tree
June 26, 2008 - I have a Mimosa Tree, just about 2 years old, grown from seed. The problem with it is that it has not branched out, it looks like one long branch growing out of the ground, about 5 feet if stood strai...
view the full question and answer

Sprouts from stems of plants from Happy Yard IN
September 28, 2013 - Is it normal for a plant to start a sprout from its own root system next to the stock/stem? Is it trying to regrow?
view the full question and answer

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
view the full question and answer

Pruning for native oak in Houston
October 06, 2008 - I have an oak tree, and I was wondering if I prune from the top down, would it get fuller at the bottom? Or can you tell me how to prune it? I have been pruning from the bottom up and it is growing ta...
view the full question and answer

Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
May 29, 2009 - How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
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