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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


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?


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




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