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?

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
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
1 rating

Wednesday - July 11, 2012

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Watering, Trees
Title: Care of Live Oaks
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have Two Young Live Oaks in the front of Our home. We had them treated for insects, ect. Now what can we do to make them Full Green and Happy Happy Happy again.Thank You

ANSWER:

We hope these Live Oaks were planted in cool weather. We ordinarily recommend that woody plants be planted between November and February in Texas. In fact, any planting or pruning of Live Oaks should be done in the coldest part of the year, when the Nitidulid beetle is inactive. This little beastie visits trees already infected with Oak Wilt for a sap snack, and then moves on to other oaks that have some damage on them that is producing sap. This is usually the result of a wound of some kind to the tree, caused by bumping with a lawnmower or a weedeater or damage during construction. We would suggest you go to this Texas Oak Wilt website for more complete information.

We also hope that the hole was properly prepared, a hole larger than the circumference of the root ball, with compost or other organic matter mixed into the native soil to enable good drainage and permit the little new rootlets to get out into the soil for nutrients and moisture.

You really don't need to fertilize native plants, or only infrequently. A plant native to an area is already accustomed to the soil, rainfall and climate of that area.

We are not sure if your oaks are in poor condition, since you said you wanted to make them happy "again." If the leaves are browning and perhaps even falling off, it might indicate the tree has transplant shock, often the result of planting at the wrong time of year. For this, you need patience as you can hardly go back and unplant the tree. To water, especially in the very hot weather we are experiencing right now, push your hose deep into the (hopefully) soft soil around the roots and let it slowly drip until water comes to the surface. Unless you are getting frequent rains, do this twice a week. We don't recommend watering trees by the use of sprinkler systems.

The best way to treat problems with plants, especially live oaks, is to prevent the conditions that produce the problems. Damage to tree bark, planting a tree that is rootbound, or at the wrong time of year can all cause problems even years down the road.

 

 

More Watering Questions

Cedar elm with brown leaves
August 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We feel we may have limited time to save our beautiful Ceder Elm. We have many trees in our yard (Post Oaks and Cedar Elms) and have been told they are all between 50 - 75 year...
view the full question and answer

Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
July 19, 2011 - Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
view the full question and answer

Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
September 16, 2013 - We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spart...
view the full question and answer

Drought stressed wooly butterflybush in Atlanta, TX
September 24, 2011 - My butterfly bush is dead looking from the drought. Do you think there is a chance it just went dormant and will return next year. I am still putting water on it. I believe it is a white wooly butterf...
view the full question and answer

Recycling bath water from Austin
July 03, 2012 - Is using bath water going to hurt my plants or grass? If I use water from the bath on vegetables and fruits will the soap be absorbed by the fruit and/or vegetables thereby transferring to us when we ...
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