En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
3 ratings

Monday - May 15, 2006

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Survival possibility of transplant of sucker from oak tree
Answered by: Dean Garrett


My neighbor has a young oak tree in his front yard. It has small leaves and round acorns and once a year sprouts shoot up at its base. The neighbor was kind enough to let me dig some up to try to transplant them. After digging I discovered that the shoots are not individual plants but grew in the dirt from the root system. I did cut one loose leaving approximately 12-14 inches of the root still attached to what should turn into a trunk. I don't know if it will grow. Do you have any idea if they are transplantable, now that I have tried it? If it will grow, do you have any idea what kind of oak it is? If it won't grow, what kind of oak would you recommend if I want a very large umbrella shade and preferably a faster growing one. I don't care if the leaves are large or small. I would appreciate any information you have. Thanks very much.


Those little shoots around the main tree are called suckers and are connected by rhizomes to the central tree. A commonly planted oak in your area that forms groves in this manner and has small-ish, ovate leaves is the live oak (Quercus fusiformis or Quercus virginiana), probably what you have.

Since you got a length of root or rhizome, it might survive, but it is chancy. The suckers were still relying on the central tree for their nourishment. To encourage roots to expand in the new spot, apply IBA rooting hormone to the root/rhizome before planting.

If it does not survive, a couple of the more commonly planted large oaks native to your area are Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii).


More Propagation Questions

Eliminating suckers from roots of Moraine locust in Hilliard, OH
July 07, 2009 - We removed a large Moraine Locust tree and also the stump. Now little trees from the roots are coming up. How do we get rid of these so something else can be planted?
view the full question and answer

Yucca sprouting shoots in Oxfordshire, England
July 11, 2010 - I have a 20ft outdoor yucca with four huge branches.It is 11 years old. For the first time it has sprouted two side shoots on one of the trunks. They are about 12 inches in length. What is the best wa...
view the full question and answer

When to plant bluebonnet seed
October 16, 2007 - When do I put out Bluebonnet seed? Do I soak them first? Thank You.
view the full question and answer

Cold stratification of Rudbeckcia maxima from Birdeye AR
August 08, 2013 - How long do I cold stratify Rudbeckia maxima seeds that I wild harvested? Can I put them in the freezer instead of fridge? Do I need to make sure they are completely dry before cold strat?
view the full question and answer

native plants for landscaping in Honolulu
January 08, 2012 - Hi, wildflower.org has been a great help for me in learning about different plants, their Latin names and characteristics. I was looking for a list of plants (trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center