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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

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