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
1 rating

Sunday - May 13, 2012

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: Stump sprouting of Oak trees in the wildfire area in Bastrop, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


We live in Bastrop, Texas, in the wildfire area. We lost all of our trees. The oak trees have "suckers" growing from the base of the burned tree that has been cut down. They look like little bushes. Can we cut out all but one of the suckers and have a successful tree? Will the tree be a strong tree? Thank you so much.


This lets you know that the roots are still alive. What you are seeing are likely stump sprouts rather than suckers, and they are providing nutrition to the roots.

Eventually, you will want to eliminate most of the sprouts,  leaving a main sprout that will become the trunk of the regenerated tree. But don’t do it too soon. Let the tree have lots of leaves during the growing season.
This process is being studied in California and Apalachia as a means of re-establishing hardwood forests that have been harvested or burned. See the links below.

University of California Oak Woodland Management

University of California at Davis


So it looks like there is a chance of getting a replacement for your oak tree if you are patient.


More Propagation Questions

Planting star hibiscus seeds from Austin
September 21, 2010 - TX star hibiscus seeds. How & when to plant in ground & in pots. Thank you, Carol
view the full question and answer

Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
October 01, 2012 - I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
view the full question and answer

Will sprouts under pecan trees become producing trees in Jefferson Co., AL?
May 30, 2009 - Do pecan trees that sprout up underneath existing pecans trees ever amount to anything such as producing and bearing pecans?
view the full question and answer

Hybridized Indigo Spires having problems in Wimberley, TX
August 19, 2010 - I planted 7 Indigo Spires from one gallon containers in May and now each plant is about 18" tall. 4 of the 7 fell over about 2 weeks are. The plants still look healthy with no dropped or curled leav...
view the full question and answer

Planting Artemisia Cuttings in Texas
September 29, 2014 - I've rooted a number of artemisia plants in water and have transplanted them to pots. They grow so very well in our dry drought-stricken soil and need very little water. I'd like to transition these...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center