En EspaŅol

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
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 - April 02, 2013

From: Porter, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Slow development in Shumard Oak from Porter TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We had two Shumard Oaks Planted in Sept of last year (2012). About a month later, they started browning and dropping their leaves (no color change). Now I noticed on one of the trees the buds have started producing leaves, but the leaves are yellowish. Call me silly but I thought they were supposed to be green when they first budded. The other tree, has some buds, that seem to be getting bigger but it is doing so at a much slower rate. I am wondering if I need to contact the nursery where I got them, or is it nothing to worry about.

ANSWER:

If they were planted by a nursery, that should certainly be your first call. A lot of plants are developing a little late this year because of the heat and drought. The nursery should have given you instructions about watering the trees. When we recommend care of newly-planted trees, we always suggest sticking a hose down in the (hopefully) soft soil around the tree and letting the hose drip slowly until water appears on the surface. September is a little early, in our judgment, to plant a tree. We like to see woody plants, trees and shrubs, planted  in cold weather, November to January, while the plants are semi-dormant. Especially having planted the tree in the still-hot month of September, you should have been doing that deep watering about two times a week until the end of November or heavy rains (which, you know, we didn't have.)

Our diagnosis is transplant shock, which could have been caused by lack of water, being planted in the heat, root damage, the roots being pot-bound (left in the pot too long and roots winding around), or even the tree having been out of the ground too long before it was planted. If the trees are leafing out on all the branches, that is a good sign. However, transplant shock can manifest itself 3 years after planting, so the trees should be watched and tenderly cared for. DO NOT FERTILIZE. The purpose of fertilizer is to force new growth, stressing a tree that is obviously already stressed.

Note the growing condition of Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak):

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Quercus shumardii is a relatively fast-growing and adaptable oak. This species is quite drought resistant and also withstands short-term flooding. It is similar to the Texas or Spanish oak, but prefers deeper soils and tends to grow taller and straighter. Provides good fall foliage color."

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, the Shumard Oak is native in the region of Montgomery County. We always like to check this to help ensure that the soils, climate and rainfall are appropriate for the plant in question. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

More Trees Questions

Drought affecting native trees from The Woodlands
August 18, 2011 - I've been trying to grow native trees in my yard for the past 3 years and I'm starting to question whether the amount of time required to spend watering them during the long hot season in Texas is r...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
October 05, 2013 - We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?
view the full question and answer

Shoots sprouting around base of liveoak tree
April 18, 2008 - I have a Live Oak that was planted in my yard about 15 years ago. In the last several years, small shoots have been sprouting up around the tree base, are getting more dense and spreading into the gr...
view the full question and answer

Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
April 14, 2009 - Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at...
view the full question and answer

A Crabapple for the Austin, TX area.
May 06, 2014 - I am in search of crab apples. Don't they grow in Austin? I can not seem to be able to locate any here. Any suggestions?
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