Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
May 12, 2005 - My bluebonnet plants have seed pods (I guess they are, they look like pods of snap peas). Can I collect these or do I just leave them alone and hope they multiply? If I can collect them, what is the ...
view the full question and answer

Sagebrush for Westminster CO
August 06, 2010 - On a recent visit to Taos, NM we fell in love with the local sagebrush. We would like to plant this sagebrush in our yard. We are located near Denver Colorado. Would this plant survive and how do we g...
view the full question and answer

Flowers to bloom in next 4 months from Aransas Pass, TX
July 24, 2013 - Looking for seeds to put down that will bloom over the next 4 months or so in the southern gulf coast area
view the full question and answer

Starting wild plant seeds indoors from Dallas TX
February 23, 2014 - Is it possible to start some Phlox drummondii or other native wild flower from seed indoors, and then transplant to my garden? If so, can you suggest some?
view the full question and answer

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