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
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

Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
July 28, 2010 - I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told L...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating non-native Asian Jasmine in Austin
December 02, 2010 - I have a large bed in front of the house full of jasmine that was planted by the builder 25 years ago. What suggestions do you have to eliminate it and prepare the bed to plant native flowers and pl...
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

Use of newspaper mulch in garden
January 05, 2007 - Before constructing a raised garden, I would like to lay newspapers at the initial ground level, then add about 12 to 15 inches of compost on top of that. Would that hurt the plants? And will the ne...
view the full question and answer

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