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

Monday - November 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: Tree removal from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A limb (6 ft. sucker) has grown out at the 8' height -- if the tree is removed above this limb, is there a chance that the tree could survive? If so, how do you make the cut (straight or angle)?

ANSWER:

There are four native oaks with the common name"Spanish Oak" but only one, Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak), is native to Travis County, so we will use that one as an example

This is a problem which you likely need to address quickly before the worst happens; that is, the tree falling on your deck. This is going to be a complex and difficult chore, best done by professionals. If you attack it on your own, it might be a human body that gets crushed. A tree that big is going to fall where it will. We suggest you go to our National Suppliers Directory. In the Enter Search Area box, put in your town and state or just your zip code and press GO. You will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. Under consultants, you will find a number of tree specialists who should have the know-how and equipment that will prevent a disaster. When we searched on Austin, we found one which included "landscape services." You can search for others online, interview each, ask for costs and guarantees and make a good decision.

As for your question about the one branch surviving this radical surgery, we would say no, but that is another question to ask an expert.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

More Planting Questions

Landscaping from Wilmington NC
December 22, 2012 - I plan on moving to Belmont NC in the next couple of years and settling down with my future wife in her home town. I am a huge do it yourself person. I love to make things from scratch, including buil...
view the full question and answer

Huisaches in pots from Houston TX
May 20, 2012 - I have special (and probably weird) affinity to huisaches (acacia farnesiana). As a child I used to admire the three that elegantly guarded our backyard looking almost like fingers reaching for the s...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on new water oak turning brown from Matagorda TX
May 30, 2013 - We had water oaks planted in January when they had no leaves. Leaves came on but are now turning brown.
view the full question and answer

Late-blooming flowers for Northeast PA
May 12, 2007 - We have a weekend house in Northeast PA...Poconos. Pretty rocky terrain....when can we plant wildflowers? Is it too late to plant in late May? If so, when is best? What variety do you recommend fo...
view the full question and answer

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