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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - August 22, 2011

From: Hutchinson, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should I do about pruning this dead limbs out or should I give it another year with fertilizer?

ANSWER:

No. 1, it is a wasted effort to put fertilizer on a dying plant.

No. 2, it won't do any good, but might actually harm the plant by trying to force a plant that is just trying to survive to put on more leaves.

No. 3, Don't prune an oak, any oak, right now. We don't know if you have oak wilt in Kansas, but we bet you do. Read this article from Kansas State University Research and Extension on Oak Wilt.

We do suggest you have a professional arborist look at the tree. Obviously, something has killed or is killing the tree.

 

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