En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - November 06, 2011

From: Clayton, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Safe branch length of oaks in Clayton NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 2 very large oak trees in my yard and I am concerned about the length of the branches over the house and driveway. Most seem larger than 4" in diameter. What is a safe length for these branches?

ANSWER:

The tree decides what its best length of branch is, depending on how many leaves it needs to manufacture food for the tree. What you need to worry about is the safety of anything that might be under those branches. Utility lines? Children's play area? Roof? We don't recommend that trees come in contact with the roof or walls of a structure; they are a highway for rodents, ants and other undesirables that will make their way into your house.

A pruning decision, however, is not something we could make sight unseen. If you are concerned that some of your oak branches are where they might be harmful, you need to consult a trained, licensed arborist. Trees as large as yours sound need people who not only know what to cut but how to manage up in a tree or on a tall ladder. They know when it's safe to cut (November is probably good in North Carolina) and how or whether to seal the wounds in the trees after they are cut. Oak trees are wonderful and valuable assets to your property-get someone that knows what they are doing to come in and give you some advice.

 

More Trees Questions

Trees for barrier fence near swimming pool in West Virginia
March 10, 2010 - Near swimming pool, barrier fence needs to replace pine trees. Prefer blooming perennial at least 12' high,low sun exposure, minimal pruning.
view the full question and answer

Need fast growing deciduous trees for Austin, TX
February 14, 2015 - We'd like to plant several fast growing deciduous trees in a full sun yard with a hard alkaline soil in the western edge of Travis Heights in South Austin. I've noted several locations in our neighb...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen ornamental tree choice in northern Indiana
June 10, 2009 - Can you please advise on growing Lemon Cypress trees outdoors in zones 5/6 zip code 46311
view the full question and answer

Black coloration on Star Magnolia is probably sooty mold.
November 21, 2008 - I have a star magnolia where 90% of the bark has turned black. It almost looks burned. The tree has decent buds set for next spring. What is causing the bark to turn black?
view the full question and answer

Quercus polymorpha botanical name for Mexican white oak
June 19, 2007 - What is the scientfic name for the Monterrey Oak?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center