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?


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 - October 29, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Time to trim oak trees in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have several large oak trees in desperate need of a good trimming. Given that the trees have had a very stressful drought year, when would be the best time to trim them?


Two words-NOT NOW! Not even now that it has finally cooled off, not now. Here is a previous answer that deals with some of the questions about pruning and prevention of disease; saves us all that typing. You didn't say what kind of oaks you have, and some Texas oaks are more resistant to oak wilt, but it doesn't hurt to be super cautious about these very valuable trees. The stress that all of our area has been under is only adding to the vulnerability of the oaks. We suggest you contact a licensed, trained arborist and schedule a pruning session for sometime between November 15 and January 15, and insist that he paints any wound larger around than your thumb with pruning paint. 


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need information about oak wilt and Shumard oak in Houston, Tx.
July 06, 2010 - I want to plant a Shumard red oak in my North Houston front yard, with two Nuttall oaks. I keep hearing about something call oak wilt. Is there something I can do to prevent this disease during the ...
view the full question and answer

Keeping cows from eating the garden
September 02, 2008 - I have a flowerbed area outside of our new split-rail fence available for planting, but cattle roam outside the fence also! Do you have any suggestions for plants that cows tend not to eat (unle...
view the full question and answer

Red and black bugs on hibiscus
June 19, 2009 - I can't get your Keyword search to work.. I have tiny red and black bugs on my hibiscus. I have tried 2 different garden sprays and neither seems to kill the tiny bugs. They barely move on the pla...
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow and Orchid tree with no upper leaves from Kerrville TX
May 30, 2013 - I have two 5 year old Desert Willows planted in my yard. This year only one has leaved out and blooming. The other is bare but the branches are not dead and it has new growth at the bottom. Do you kno...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center