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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - May 08, 2012

From: Nevada, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: A year and a half old live oak tree is doing poorly in Nevada, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We planted a live oak tree about a year and a half ago. the tree is still rather small. The leaves are of a vibrant green, however the leave have only grown through the center of the tree and not out on the branches. Should we just be patient?

ANSWER:

There are two species of oak in Texas that are known as live oak; one is Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak) and the other is Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak). Neither one prefers the black land prairie soils of Collin County.   (see qufu  and quvi).

Whenever we hear of a recently planted tree that is doing poorly, our thoughts turn to transplant shock. I’m going to refer you to three sites that discuss this problem and offer suggestions for remedies.

Purdue University

northscaping.com

gardeningknowhow.com

Are you sure that the branches are alive? The “thumb nail test” can tell you. Scrape a small section of bark off of the end of a branch with your thumb nail. If there is green tissue underneath, the branch is alive. No green tissue, that part of the branch is dead. Move down the branch, repeating the test as you go until you find green tissue. Remove the dead part of the branch.


 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

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