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
2 ratings

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

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting agave in Austin
September 22, 2009 - I have an 8 foot tall agave (americana?) planted in my front yard. It has been there quite happily for over 20 years. How would I go about transplanting this to another location? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Penstemon digitalis not blooming in Hebron, NE.
May 22, 2010 - My Beardtongue plants are too close together. Can I transplant my Penstemon digitalis now, even though the plant is approx. 20" tall? It is not blooming.
view the full question and answer

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
July 30, 2011 - I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
view the full question and answer

Care for Blackfoot daisy?
June 05, 2009 - Hi, I have two blackfoot daisies and one has died. I've planted them in full sun on a well drained slope. Do these ususally die after blooming? Should I cut the other one back? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

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