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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.

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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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Wednesday - July 02, 2014

From: Merrill , WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Trees
Title: Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the others. The tree will have a straighter and stronger trunk if I do this. I have 3 years to wait for the answer.

ANSWER:

When you refer to swamp oak, do you mean Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)?  The other swamp oak that it could be is Swamp Spanish Oak (Quercus palustris). Both grow in your region.

Anyway, if you prune your oak tree at four years of age you will be setting it back significantly. Unless your tree is very malformed and you think that it needs to grow a perfectly straighter trunk, just let it be.  And the current thinking now is that young trees form stronger trunks if they are not staked. Here's the rationale behind the unstaked tree procedure.

Also, the Mississippi State University Extension Service has a good factsheet on growing oaks from acorns that you might like to read.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pin oak
Quercus palustris

Pin oak
Quercus palustris

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