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
3 ratings

Tuesday - July 03, 2012

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Time for trimming oaks from Boerne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I want to trim a native red oak but am scared to touch it because I dont want to lose it. It is the primary source of shade in our back yard. Also I want to trim the live oaks and am surrounded with Oak Wilt and Oak Decline. Please tell me when the best time of year is best to do that.


Thank you for asking. The main answer to your question is NOT NOW! Please look at this article from Texas Oak Wilt; in fact, it would be good if you took the time to read all of it, iincluding some videos on treatment and control.

The best thing to do is contact the Forest Service office in your region. Kendall County is in the Kerrville Region:

Kerrville Region – Includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Edwards, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, Real, Uvalde and Wilson counties.

Mark Duff
Texas Forest Service Project Forester
15110 Jones Maltsberger, Suite 101
San Antonio, TX 78247

Our main advice for right now is to avoid in every way breaking the bark anywhere on any of the trees. This can be caused by being bumped by lawn equipment or digging, even a weedeater can be the culprit. These wounds will cause sap to drip, which is lunch for the Nitidulid Beetle. He does not infect the tree, but if he has already snacked at an infected tree, it's very likely that he has the fungus that causes Oak Wilt on his body, and drops it off. Treatment of Oak Wilt is very difficult and expensive. The best course in the treatment of Oak Wilt is prevention-don't let it happen.


More Trees Questions

Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
January 01, 2009 - I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy in PA
July 18, 2011 - We need to plant a privacy/sound barrier hedge/hedgerow and my husband says it must be evergreen. I am not familiar with which species would be native to our area and I just don't trust those big sto...
view the full question and answer

Does Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) have agressive roots?
November 30, 2014 - Hello, Do you know if the Huisache tree has an aggressive root system? I have a few in proximity to my septic draining field and I need to know if I should cut them down to prevent clogging of t...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreen tree to hide power lines
April 10, 2009 - Live in Orange Connecticut and need a tree that grows fast and tall to cover the power lines which are quite tall. I'm thinking evergreen type trees so that the during the winter it provides the cov...
view the full question and answer

Growing live oaks from acorns
January 25, 2010 - What is the best way to grow Live Oaks from acorns?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center