En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Young oak damaged by falling tree from San Diego TX

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

Wednesday - June 27, 2012

From: San Diego, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Young oak damaged by falling tree from San Diego TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My neighbor's Palo Blanco tree was struck by lightning and fell over our fence and on to a young oak tree in our yard. We waited a few days to see if the neighbor would offer help, but he never did, so we chopped up the Palo Blanco and removed it. The oak had been shaded and sort of stunted by the neighbor's tree, so we hope it will do better now, but some branches are bent and hanging. Should I trim the drooping limbs or wait till early spring or winter?

ANSWER:

Before we could figure out an answer to your question, we had to answer two other questions: (1) is there a San Diego,TX as indicated on your question?  (2) what is a Palo Blanco tree?

On Question No. 1, we found a town named San Diego in Duval and Jim Wells Co. pretty far down in the southern tip of Texas. Question No. 2, there are apparently about 4 different trees called "Palo Blanco" which means white stick. Since that is not the tree you are concerned about, we chose Acacia willardiana, if anyone else is curious.

While we were arbitrarily picking tree names, we looked in our Recommended Species section in South Texas for members of the Quercus (oak) genus that were native to that part of Texas. The one we chose is Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak), which grows up to be a really big oak, so we hope yours will be okay. From our webpage on this tree:

"Conditions Comments: The species name macrocarpa, refers to the golf ball sized acorns of this tree. The leaves of bur oak also are large, so they are easy to rake. Bur oak is drought resistant, long-lived and reasonably fast-growing for an oak. Tolerates limey soils better than other oaks. Resistant to oak wilt and a number of other problems. Sensitive to root zone disturbance caused by construction."

All this is not to say that either identification we made is necessarily correct, we just needed to know what ballpark we are in. Our concern (as is yours) is solely your little oak. You really should take a look at Texas oak wilt.org to acquaint yourself with where and how this disease can strike. In that website is a map of Texas counties, Oak Wilt Occurences in Texas Counties, that indicates that Duval and Jim Wells Counties appear to be oak wilt-free, but are just one county south of where infection is known to exist. If it turns out you have a red oak or a live oak, you need to be even more concerned.

For now, the important thing is to save your tree and protect it from the possibility of infection. If any of the branches are actually broken, yes, they should be pruned, even though this is the wrong time of year. It would be better if you called in a professional arborist, but you should look at Tree Stewardship in the same article.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

More Pruning Questions

Pruning for native oak in Houston
October 06, 2008 - I have an oak tree, and I was wondering if I prune from the top down, would it get fuller at the bottom? Or can you tell me how to prune it? I have been pruning from the bottom up and it is growing ta...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Cuphea Plants
February 04, 2013 - The David Verity cuphea (cigar plants) that I planted last spring are now 3-4 feet high. I would like to move them, but before I do they seem to need pruning. All the branches are brown and dry lookin...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native weeping birch in Brick NJ
August 16, 2009 - I have a young weeping birch-planted in spring-we water regularly, it gets good sun-and rain has been perfect--the leaves get yellow--and now they are a lot! Whats the matter? I love my little tree.I ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming back Agave havardiana
June 05, 2008 - Hi.. thanks for all the great information on Agaves. We have a number of Agave Havardiana (blue) that love where we planted them. Several have gotten HUGE. So much so that they are starting to ge...
view the full question and answer

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
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