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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - October 23, 2012

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting, Trees
Title: Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.

ANSWER:

Generally speaking, a plant native to an area should not need supplemental feeding, as it is already accustomed to the nutrients in the soil, the climate and the rainfall. There are practices, like composting and mulching your trees that help those trees access the nutrients in the soil, protect the roots from heat and cold and decompose to continue to amend the soil, naturally and without having to use chemicals. Read this How-To Article on Under Cover with Mulch.

Although it's a little too late for this now, how you plant your tree in the beginning has a lot to do with what kind of care it needs later. Plants native to Central Texas will almost always need good drainage. Mixing compost with the dirt that goes back into the hole when your tree is being placed will help keep water from standing on those roots. which few plants from around here can tolerate. And never, ever fertilize a newly-planted tree; this will force a tree struggling to survive to try to grow more leaves. It also will retard blooming, which you probably care about with your redbud.

Please follow these two plants links to our webpages on each plant: Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) and Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak). This will give you more information about the culture and care of these trees, including propagation, bloom time, etc.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Malpighia glabra for Austin
October 14, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I am planting native Malpighia in a raised bed that was specially prepared for growing roses (soil and amendments). This bed has been left fallow for several years. Do I need t...
view the full question and answer

Shredded hardwood for mulch
December 07, 2007 - I intend to landscape a section of my new property. but want to wait until the cold weather has passed. I have pets that will be contained within a fenced-in area that has some wild grasses but also ...
view the full question and answer

Desert willows not doing well in Navarro County, TX
May 16, 2009 - Planted 3 new desert willows , 3-4 ft.in February. Live in East Navarro County and soil is clay with slight slope to Richland Chambers lake area. Had a wet spring. These plantings appear not doing we...
view the full question and answer

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Splash-proof plants from Oakton VA
October 01, 2012 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, Re: low, evergreen ground cover, Northern Virginia The bare soil around my freshly painted screen porch splashes up onto the white framing when it rains so I am looking for ...
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