En Español

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
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 Trees Questions

Would like a small tree for yard in Las Vegas, NV.
May 31, 2013 - would like a small tree with root system that grows down not spread on surface. Had raywood and medesto ash tree both died of desease. Diagnosed by arborist. Stated that these trees to big for my yard...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for under a black walnut from Lansing MI
October 04, 2012 - What native plants can you recommend that will grow in Michigan under a mature black walnut tree?
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen to replace non-native chinaberry
November 08, 2011 - Looking for a native evergreen tree to replace a fruitless Chinaberry that was 35 years old. We have clay soil for about 3 feet and then you hit rock. Suggestions would be appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
view the full question and answer

Distinguish between Huisache and Goldenball Leadtree
March 23, 2008 - How do you distinguish between Huisache (Acacia farnesiana) and Goldenball Leadtree (Leucaena retusa)? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center