Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

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

Ostrya virginiana Compatible with Juglone
May 17, 2015 - Is Ostrya virginiana sensitive to juglone?
view the full question and answer

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree to provide block for treehouse in Central Texas
April 02, 2010 - I live close to Austin TX and need an evergreen tree to block neighbor's newly constructed, metal roof tree house. It looms over our garden and yard - can you suggest a nice evergreen tree for hot m...
view the full question and answer

Growing Dwarf Yaupon Holly in Texas
December 04, 2013 - We planted 10 extra dwarf yaupons in our Austin front yard. They were identified as 'Gremici' dwarf yaupon. I googled them to get more information about them in order to determine why five have di...
view the full question and answer

Grafting to a cherry laurel for edible fruit in Austin
July 01, 2010 - I was the one who asked earlier about grafting to a Cherry Laurel. I will happily graft a local plum on it, say a Mexican Plum or American Plum or one of the naturalized peaches (a friend has an India...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.