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

New growth on Amur Maple turning black in McPherson, Kansas.
June 29, 2010 - Re: Amur Maple bushes Approximately 2 yrs old, 4 ft tall. New growth at the end of some branches is turning black. Plants are mulched with grass clippings. We live in Kansas. Thanks for any info....
view the full question and answer

What to do about leaf spot on Vaccinium myrsinites in Clearwater FL?
June 24, 2010 - I have recently planted many Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry) in my yard. These plants seem to have many dead twig branches without leaves. The remaining leaves have red spots. I visited a na...
view the full question and answer

Precautions regarding pruning live oaks in the Austin area.
October 27, 2015 - Is it still recommended that we clean pruning shears and spray wounds when pruning live oaks in the Austin area?
view the full question and answer

Why are my Rock Roses dying?
September 22, 2014 - I planted several rock roses last fall. This spring they have grown wonderfully, but all of a sudden, one shriveled and died. I took it out and replaced it. Now, another is starting to shrivel. It ...
view the full question and answer

Leucophyllum Resistant to Verticillium Wilt
March 25, 2015 - I need to know which large shrubs are resistant to verticillium wilt? I believe that a few of our Elaeagnus have succumbed to this disease, but being over 15 years old, I am not positive. I am thinki...
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