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 - 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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Flameleaf sumac problems
October 18, 2007 - I have three flameleaf sumacs, which were planted last December. One is doing very well, but two are losing their leaves. First, black spots appear on the leaves, then the leaves turn yellow and wilt,...
view the full question and answer

Acid rain in Ft. Worth?
August 19, 2010 - ALERT. NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. Why are so many trees, plants, etc. in the Fort Worth area dying?? I heard acid rain. Please don't say drought. I have lived in this area all my life and survived t...
view the full question and answer

Elimination of dirt dauber insects
August 18, 2006 - Hello - I live in the southeast part of Guadalupe Co. in the post oak savanna area. Do you have any suggestions on how to control dirt dauber dirt/mud nests. I know these critters are beneficial, bu...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Escarpment Oak from Austin
May 18, 2014 - We have a 2-year-old quercus fusiformis in our front yard and have been advised by some people that we need to remove the bottom branches and trim the ends of the branches that are hanging far down. ...
view the full question and answer

Oaks at Wildflower Center from Wimberley TX
September 05, 2012 - I know you have numerous Quercus fusiformis examples at the ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. My question is, do you also have Quercus virginiana growing there? Also, is Oak Wilt a disease that ...
view the full question and answer

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