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

Fertilization of recently-transplanted yucca
January 26, 2009 - I planted a soft tip yucca a week ago, the spineless type. I was doing a landscaping job, it was dug up, left for a week without any dirt around the roots, and when the customer did not want it, I pl...
view the full question and answer

Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
October 03, 2009 - Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Wild plum tree failing to bloom from Simonton TX
May 04, 2013 - I have a wild plum tree that has been in the ground for 3 or 4 years and it has not ever flowered. Why? I don't know what kind it is. I dug it up from a friends yard. Her wild plum trees have flowere...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
August 21, 2014 - I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, i...
view the full question and answer

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