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

Saturday - March 25, 2006

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Susceptibility of Shumard oaks to oak wilt
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I have planted a red oak tree. I am still trying to locate the ID tag for the type. I planted it two or three years ago. I purchased the tree from either Lowes or Home Depot. Is there a type of red oak that is not susceptible to oak wilt? Shumard oak? A neighborhood 10 miles away has had oak wilt. Should I remove mine and consider a different tree for the neighborhood?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, red oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than any other oaks. There is no red oak species that is immune to the disease. Once infected, a red oak will die faster from oak wilt than other oaks, usually within a few weeks as opposed to the few months it takes live oaks to succumb.

How various oaks become infected also differs. In live oaks connected by their roots in an area hit by oak wilt, the disease spreads at an average of 75 to 100 feet per year through the roots. With red oaks, the infection is almost always spread by certain flying insects to bark-damaged trees that may be far distant from the source tree, so rate of spread isn't as predictable.

As to whether to remove your tree or not, that's a hard question. There are neighborhoods here in Austin filled with beautiful, old and young native red oaks that haven't been infected and may never be. They add so much to the neighborhoods that it would be a shame to remove them, but proper preventive care must be addressed, mostly having to do with avoiding open wounds on the trees. More information on this and other oak wilt issues can be found on the following websites:

www.texasoakwilt.org
http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=1260
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/oakwilt

If you decide to remove your red oak, here are some suggestions for regional oak species that are not as vulnerable to oak wilt and would do well in your area:

Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
Lacey Oak (Quercus laceyi)
 

More Trees Questions

Yellowing leaves on young bur oak
August 06, 2007 - I saw your response on 7/25 about leaves on mature live oaks turning yellow, then brown because of excessive rain. The same thing is happening to our young burr oak. Leaves are turning yellowish, th...
view the full question and answer

Deciduous tree with tap root
August 04, 2008 - I have a 13 foot space between two town houses and would like to plant a slender deciduous tree up to 30 feet in height with a tendency to tap root so as not to disturb the foundation of the houses. ...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for cemetery plot in Karnes County, TX
April 08, 2007 - I'm looking for a tree for a cemetery plot in Karnes County at Pana Maria. There will be someone to regularly water it. I understand live oak and pecan are native to the area. I assume these would...
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

Privacy Screening of House Next Door in NC
June 26, 2013 - Hello, I live in the house my parents bought in 1971 in Winston-Salem, NC. The house beside me is an eyesore and for sale at a very low price. I am afraid the condition of the house and yard next door...
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