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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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Thursday - January 24, 2008

From: Uvalde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Trees
Title: Moving a red oak away from the house foundation
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

About a 3 weeks ago I noticed a 5 ft. red oak growing in my flower bed. I hadn't noticed it growing up through my shrubs until the leaves turned bright red. The problem is that its coming up about two feet from my house. I like the tree and would like to leave it where it is but I'm guessing the root system will eventually cause problems. If I keep the limbs trimmed away from the house until it passes the roofline will it still be problematic? Should I cut it down? Thank You.

ANSWER:

There are several oaks in Texas that are called red oaks; Quercus texana (Texas red oak), Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak). Each can make a handsome addition to the landscape of your yard if they are in the proper place. Unfortunately, growing two feet from the foundation of your house is not the proper place. This has the potential of causing problems with the foundation of your house as well as the growth of the tree.

One possibility, of course, is to cut it down. However, if you are into challenges, you might want to try to dig it up and transplant it somewhere in the yard twenty to thirty feet from the house. Read the descriptions of the mature trees in the sources above to help you decide on a location for planting.

At five feet, the tree is almost too large to transplant, but if you are careful to get as much root as possible with minimal damage, there is a chance of success. You need to attempt the transplant right away; don't wait for spring to pass you by.

Two information sources, Backyard Conservation and Urban Forestry, can provide you with the know-how to succeed in this project.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

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