Contact Us Host an Event 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

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

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Nimblewill grass for a shady area in Dallas
April 04, 2013 - i have a very shady backyard and reading some of your post I think Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill) will survive. Two questions: Is it drought resistant? Where can I buy the seeds?
view the full question and answer

Seedball Germination in Dallas
September 19, 2015 - I read your answer to the question posed about wildflower seed balls not germinating along a bike trail in Dallas. My garden club is also wanting to purchase seeds to create and scatter seed balls. ...
view the full question and answer

Information about growing mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora)
November 15, 2008 - I live just outside of Austin on 10 acres. I have several very large mountain laurels on my property that I planted from containers. Mine flower profusely every year. I feed them bi-weekly and wate...
view the full question and answer

When to plant wildflowers in California
December 10, 2013 - When is the best time to plant wildflowers in California?
view the full question and answer

Planting times and sun for native plants from Austin
October 06, 2013 - When to plant Phacelia congesta seeds? Can Maximilian sunflowers tolerate partial shade?
view the full question and answer

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