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?

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
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

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

forestencyclopedia.net

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

 

More Trees Questions

Need help selecting maple cultivars in Houston.
November 25, 2009 - I live in Houston, TX and would like to plant 2 red maples in my front yard. I know there are multiple varieties planted down here, but I can't tell which one would do best. The ones that I've come ...
view the full question and answer

Lifespan of pecan from Austin
February 26, 2014 - What is the lifespan of a pecan tree? I've seen several places say up to a thousand years, but I'd always thought it was closer to around 300 years. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Life expectancy for Carolina buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana)
February 25, 2008 - Someone recently told me that Carolina buckthorn only lives 4-5 years and I'm wondering if that is true. I had a nice one (on Blackland) that died suddenly in its fourth or fifth year, during the dr...
view the full question and answer

Trees non-toxic for horses in California
May 02, 2011 - I would like to plant next to my pasture. Please send a good variety of nontoxic (for horses) plants for shade. I live in Redding Cal.
view the full question and answer

No acorns on mature live oak in Little Rock AR
April 18, 2010 - Why does my very large mature live oak have no acorns?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center