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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tuesday - November 02, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Need advice for pruning a young Bur Oak tree in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I grew a beautiful bur oak from seed, and three years later it is now taller than I am. I hate to cut anything off this tree and hurt it, but there are two branches that are rubbing together and growing crosswise. Do I have to cut one of them off or will they sort themselves out? thanks!

ANSWER:

Just curious, but how tall are you?

The Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak)  can grow into a magnificent tree with proper care, and a part of that care includes careful and prudent pruning. Removing one of the two limbs that are rubbing is a must.

Here are two sources with a lots of information about the ins and outs of pruning.

University of Maryland Extension

Purdue University University Cooperative Extension Service

Bear in mind, there is more to pruning than just cutting off limbs.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

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