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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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
210-494-1742
mduff@tfs.tamu.edu

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 Pruning Questions

Reducing the Height of a Redbud Tree
January 23, 2016 - We have a very large, about 15-year old, Redbud tree that is growing so tall it's obstructing our view of the river. How and when can we prune this tree back so it does not hurt the tree.
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

Pruning tips for Texas Mountain Laurel.
October 09, 2011 - Towards the end of May, I planted some Mountain Laurel seeds in pots. They are about six inches high now and starting to branch out. Do I need to trim off the leaves on the main stem below the branche...
view the full question and answer

Branching on plants
March 14, 2008 - Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?
view the full question and answer

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