En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Aging Arizona Ash in Austin
May 04, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants! I live in South Austin and just bought a house with a large, 30-40 year old Arizona Ash in the backyard. When I moved in, most of the lower branches were bare and dead and so I had ...
view the full question and answer

What is causing leaf drop on oak in Morgan Hill CA?
June 23, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants: We have a large, young Valley Oak (about 20 yrs) which is dropping leaves even now in early summer. I have a feeling that the problem might be an invasive weed that is flourishi...
view the full question and answer

Care of lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
June 09, 2008 - How do I care for a Lemon Cypress tree? Does it require a lot of sun? How often should I water it? It is 18" high and I have it in a pot on my screen porch. Thank-you
view the full question and answer

Patio Privacy Screen Suggestions for Central Texas
March 17, 2013 - I have just built a patio and want to plant some small trees, bushes or shrubs to form a visual barrier (rather than to erect a fence)to the neighbors yard.
view the full question and answer

Trees for Socorro NM
June 28, 2012 - I recently moved from Austin to Socorro, NM. I want to add 2 shade trees to my hot, dry garden. I am considering Arizona Cypress, Live Oak (Quercus Fusiformis - yes, they are native in NM, as well a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center