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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).

 

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