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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 01, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: What fertlilizer for live oaks under drought conditions?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

In your June 7 answer about helping live oaks survive the drought, you state that additional fertilization may help as well. What kind of fertilizer to you recommend and how should it be applied? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Tree specialists don't agree on a particular type of fertilizer, one recommending  13:13:13 (nitrogen:phosphorus:potassium), while others just say a "standard" fertilizer will suffice and still others do not mention fertilization under drought conditions.  Mr. Smarty Plants suggests an organic nitrogen (slow-release) fertilizer such as 8:2:4.  Follow the instructions on the package, but apply a fairly low amount of the fertilizer around the trees near their drip lines.  Too much fertilizer could promote new leaf formation - not good in drought times.  If the trees seem to be relatively healthy you might well delay applying the fertilizer until September, which is the normal time.

Make sure you don't use Weed-N-Feed fertilizer.  This has a herbicide that kills broad-leaf plants, including oaks!  Water the fertilizer in well after application. Hopefully there is some sort of mulch of leaves or other plant material on the soil to help retard water evaporation.

And pray for a good, slow rain.

 

More Watering Questions

Limp leaves on Texas purple sage in Magnolia TX
July 22, 2010 - Recently planted Texas purple sage, some of it looks healthy and has new blooms, but a few of the plants have limp leaves and are thin at the bottom. I read the article on cotton root rot, but am not ...
view the full question and answer

Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
September 03, 2011 - Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Is installing irrigation with Habiturf a good idea in Round Rock Texas?
December 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of planning a new lawn in my front yard. We have decided to plant the Habiturf seed mix (thank you, by the way). Originally, we planned on installing a spri...
view the full question and answer

Grouping plants according to water needs
February 05, 2010 - Explain how appropriate design/grouping of plants of the same water needs would make irrigation scheduling easier?
view the full question and answer

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