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?


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

Thursday - September 23, 2010

From: New Orleans, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Grafting Shumard Oak to Decrease Acorn Bearing Age in New Orleans
Answered by: Mike Tomme


Can a Shumard Oak that is bearing acorns (30 yrs. old)be grafted to a seedling in order to decrease the bearing of the tree in a similar manner as grafting pecan trees? Can it be propagated by any method that decreases the acorn bearing age? I am a Louisiana citrus grower.


As a citrus grower, I'm sure you have a lot more experience with grafting than Mr. Smarty Plants. My bag (can you guess my age from that) is native plants and native plants don't graft. Nonetheless, my interest was piqued and I poked around a little.

I was not able to locate any sources that discuss manipulating acorn production by grafting. I can certainly understand why you would be interested in decreasing the acorn bearing age since, according to the USDA'a web siteQuercus shumardii (Shumard oak) has a minimum seed bearing age of 25 years.

Grafting of oak trees is certainly possible. Here is a site explaining how it is done: How to Graft Oak Trees. There is a brief discussion in a University of British Columbia Botanical Garden Forum about grafting red oaks,which would include Quercus shumardii. One contributor is of the opinion that grafting does not work well within the red oak group.

Give your idea a try and see how it turns out.


More Trees Questions

Evergreen plants safe for horses in Louisville, Kentucky
May 16, 2010 - I have a horse farm in Louisville, Ky. I want to plant evergreen plants along the walls in front of the horse barns. What types of plants are not toxic to horses can I use? Thank you so much for all y...
view the full question and answer

Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
April 01, 2013 - We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for liveoaks with oak wilt in Austin
January 26, 2008 - One day after moving into our very first home and first home in Texas (just north of the Wildflower center in Sendera Southwest Austin) we discovered that all of our Live Oaks have Oak Wilt. After tre...
view the full question and answer

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Theory for live oak shoots from Austin
August 25, 2011 - More on preventing suckers from coming up around live oaks in Austin. I too have been puzzled - why some live oaks have shoots, and not others. Posting here says different varieties have suckers. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center