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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.

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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.

 

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