Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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 Transplants Questions

Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
July 06, 2009 - How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?
view the full question and answer

Problems with propagation of Indian Paintbrush (Castileja indivisa)
February 07, 2006 - We are growing Indian Paintbrush. I have 2-300 seedlings. They were sown with fescue and have grown beautifully. Now they are approximately 4-6 inches high, a few have bloomed and many seem to be dy...
view the full question and answer

Optimal time to separate and transplant black-eyed Susan
May 26, 2007 - When is the optimal time to separate or transplant black eyed Susan. I have some in a planter on my patio, but it has multiplied and become too crowded for the pot; it needs water daily.
view the full question and answer

Century plant offshoots in Denver
January 01, 2009 - Each year I get a small "baby" Century Plants in the early winter..December - January, But it dies off before summer. We live in Denver, CO My main plant is doing fine. Also, should I cut the lo...
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.