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
1 rating

Saturday - April 30, 2011

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Pruning oaks in August from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I do minor pruning on my Lacey oak and bur oak in August if it is hot and dry? I'd like to prune one limb from each. The Lacey oak limb is about 2 inches in diameter, and the bur oak limb is about 5 inches in diameter. If I prune, should I use pruning paint?

ANSWER:

The first thing that comes to mind when we are asked about pruning any oak at any time of the year is Oak Wilt, and we suggest you read the website Oak Wilt Information Partnership to assure you are proceeding safely. To quote from that site:

"All oaks (Quercus spp.) are susceptible to oak wilt to some degree, but some species are affected more than others. Red oaks, particularly Spanish oak (Q. buckleyi), Texas red oak (Q. texana), Shumard oak (Q. shumardii), and blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), are extremely susceptible and may play a unique role in the establishment of new oak wilt infections.

White oaks, including post oak (Q. stellata), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), Mexican white oak (Q. polymorpha), white shin oak (Q. sinuata var. breviloba), Durand oak (Q. sinuata), Lacey oak (Q. laceyi), and chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), are resistant to the fungus and rarely die from oak wilt."
You can see that your two oaks are at a lower risk of oak wilt, but caution is always recommended.

If you choose to prune in August, the Texas Forest Service recommends that you always paint pruning cuts as soon as the cuts are made. When pruning cuts are made during the proper times of the year there still may be a few contaminated nitudulid beetles in the area. If the pruning cuts are painted with a pruning paint or latex paint this will prevent these sapfeeding Nitidulid beetles from feeding and infecting your oak tree with the oak wilt fungus.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Weeping Willow Problem in Texas
September 04, 2014 - Our weeping willow's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. We are also seeing some brown, gnarly looking pods on some of the stems can you tell us what's happening?
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Willow Tree with Bark and Leaves Falling Off in Missouri
October 01, 2015 - My willow tree is suddenly lost leaves on 1/2 of the tree. The tree has 2 major trunks and the leaves that have fallen (all off within about 3 weeks) are on one trunk but the bark is impacted on both ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Thuga occidentalis in Canton MI
May 11, 2009 - I have emerald arborvitae that have become very "shaggy" and somewhat orange at the base of some leaves, while my neighbors look compact and dark green. What am I doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

Cedar elm with brown leaves
August 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We feel we may have limited time to save our beautiful Ceder Elm. We have many trees in our yard (Post Oaks and Cedar Elms) and have been told they are all between 50 - 75 year...
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