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

Newly planted anacacho leaf browning
October 15, 2007 - I have just put my anacacho orchid into the ground and its leaves are turning brown and falling off. Is that normal for this time of year, or have I shocked it? What can I do to ensure its health?
view the full question and answer

Problems with giant coneflower in Richardson TX
June 05, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants- I have had a giant coneflower in my garden for 2 years now. This year it came up like it always had..got lots of leaves and then withered..turned brown and died. It got plent...
view the full question and answer

American Beech with Brown Leaves
August 06, 2015 - I have a North American beech tree in Oregon. Its leaves started out with big brown spots on the leaves and is pretty much turning all the leaves on the tree brown. What could be causing this and wha...
view the full question and answer

Is December a good time to prune oaks in Central Texas?
December 29, 2010 - Given that we haven't had much cold weather here in central Texas (Wimberley) this season, is it a good time to trim live and Spanish oak trees (damaged limbs and low hanging branches and suckers)? ...
view the full question and answer

Brown spots on young redbuds in Lincoln TX
August 01, 2010 - I have lined my driveway in Lee County Texas with Red bud trees purchased both in Dripping Springs and in College Station. The 14 trees are of varying ages and heights (planted during the fall and wi...
view the full question and answer

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