En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 10, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Pruning live oak shoots from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am new to TX and am curious about removing suckers/water sprouts from my Live Oaks. Everything I've read about pruning Live Oaks states that you must paint ALL cuts, so I assume that all means all. However in discussing the matter with locals, most say that you only need to paint cuts of a certain diameter. Am I really supposed to try to paint every one of those little cuts or do I just need to worry about painting larger cuts?

ANSWER:

We have heard more about this problem this year than we remember ever having before. We will refer you to some links to get more information, but here is a summary. The Live Oak is the most susceptible of the oaks to Oak Wilt, and that is why recommending the pruning paint on cuts is so pervasive. The most important thing to understand is that the Nitulidid beetle, who carries the spores of the Oak Wilt fungus on his body, is not active during the coldest weather. For that reason, we recommend pruning only during November 15 to January 15. Pruning or any kind of damage, like a ding from a weedeater or a lawnmower, will result in sap being released by the tree. The pesky beetle looooves oak sap, and is attracted to it, complete with spores.

On the subject of pruning paint, if your tree experiences a break from wind or other reasons, the stump should immediately be cleaned up, cut straight, and pruning paint applied. If the stub is no larger than your thumb, you can omit the paint.

Which brings us to the sprouts; unless you have ignored them for a long time, they are not going to be that big. Get down below the soil if you can, and whack 'em off. They will come back, persistence is the rule.

Now for some previous answers on this prolem:

From El Paso

Oak Wilt

Mowing oak sprouts

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Mice eating seeds put out for birds
June 02, 2008 - I love feeding the wild birds and put out seed in our backyard. Now, I have a family of mice eating the seed and they are living in the trunk of our elm tree! How can I get rid of them without killi...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
May 22, 2013 - I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
view the full question and answer

Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Achillea millefolium
May 28, 2007 - I had a clump of yarrow in my garden and was worried that it would become very aggressive to the other plants. I decided to transplant it into large clay pots to control it. Immediately after the tran...
view the full question and answer

Restoration of mistflowers suffering from wet season
June 27, 2007 - I have planted gregg's mistflower in a bed that receives morning sun and afternoon semi-shade. It was beautiful and covered with blooms and butterflies this spring, but suddenly has become brown and ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center