En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - What to do about volunteer trees growing beneath a large live oak tree in Austin, TX

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 - January 08, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: What to do about volunteer trees growing beneath a large live oak tree in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a large live oak tree. Several volunteer trees are growing directly underneath it and into its branches. I want to cut them down if they are going to hurt the long term health of the live oak. Can you please advise?

ANSWER:

You didn’t mention what kind of volunteer tress you have,  but I think they will detract from the overall appearance of an old live oak tree Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak), and should probably come down.

 At this time, they are competing with the oak tree for water and nutrients. As they grow larger and penetrate the canopy, they will also be competing for sunlight. Neither of these situations benefits the oak tree.

Another thing that happens under oak trees, and you may be experiencing this, is the production of numerous root sprouts. Check out this link to learn more about these pesky little plants.

One more thing with live oaks that you should be aware of in Texas is oak wilt.
These two links will help you know what to look for.

texasoakwilt.org 

oakwilt.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

More Pruning Questions

Removal of Carolina Jasmine in San Antonio
March 02, 2009 - We are attempting to permanently remove large old-growth Carolina Yellow Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens bushes from our property. The bushes are cut down. Any suggestions for stump/root removal (mec...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Saucer Magnolia in Eatontown, NJ.
January 12, 2013 - Adult Saucer Magnolia (tulip tree). Branches were getting heavy to where they were ready to break. I pruned them back leaving 1 to 3 inch diameter cuts on many branches. Should I put something on th...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of penstemon after bloooming from Austin
April 30, 2012 - I planted a penstemon in my backyard last fall and it's doing great. Once the flowers have bloomed, do I cut the stalk back? It is about 2 ft tall and doesn't appear to be doing anything. I belie...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
January 24, 2012 - I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late wi...
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