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?


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

Monday - December 24, 2012

From: McAllen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Watering live oak trees from McAllen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


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 tree is how the water is being applied. These trees range size from 2" to 6".


This is a question we frequently address; we will link you to some previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions on this subject, and then sum up on our opinion.

Katy, Texas - Note this paragraph:

"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."

Georgetown, TX

Drought Resource Center

Our take on all this is that one popup sprinkler isn't going to make it. You use the sprinklers out on the perimeter of the tree dripline to get to the roots extended out there. We don't like sprays of water hitting the bark anyway; it can invite fungus and disease. The video from the Drought Resource Center (above) is extremely useful in telling you what the tree needs.


More Trees Questions

Plants Toxic to Horses
October 26, 2013 - I want to put planters on the front of my horse barn, which is also in the front field, so the horses could eat what is in it if they want to. I am looking to put a miniature pine tree in the planter....
view the full question and answer

Deciduous shade tree for Inland California dry hills
July 26, 2011 - What type of tree would work well in our back yard? We're looking for a deciduous tree that doesn't grow too tall, maybe 20'. We'd like it to have spreading branches to provide shade during the su...
view the full question and answer

Grafting to a cherry laurel for edible fruit in Austin
July 01, 2010 - I was the one who asked earlier about grafting to a Cherry Laurel. I will happily graft a local plum on it, say a Mexican Plum or American Plum or one of the naturalized peaches (a friend has an India...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing shade tree for Corona CA
September 17, 2014 - Hi, I'm looking for a fast growing shade tree. I live in Corona CA so it will need to do well in a lot of sun, moderate winds and clay soil. Thanks so much for your suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Magnolia grandiflora
June 11, 2007 - We just moved to Plano TX and there's a magnolia tree planted between our house and the driveway. (The tree is 7ft tall and it's about 7ft from the side of house and 4ft from the driveway) I alway...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center