Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Why did mountain laurel turn brown and die?
July 20, 2011 - I have (had) a lovely mountain laurel that I planted more than 25 years ago. Many times one or two branches would turn brown and I would trim them out. The shrub is about 10 feet tall and is many tr...
view the full question and answer

Is installing irrigation with Habiturf a good idea in Round Rock Texas?
December 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of planning a new lawn in my front yard. We have decided to plant the Habiturf seed mix (thank you, by the way). Originally, we planned on installing a spri...
view the full question and answer

Watering live oak trees from McAllen TX
December 24, 2012 - What are the watering requirements for live oak trees in deep south Texas? How often and how many inches to be applied? One pop-up spray sprinkler spaced approximately fifteen feet away from each tr...
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
September 27, 2011 - I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
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.