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
1 rating

Friday - April 18, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Shoots sprouting around base of liveoak tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a Live Oak that was planted in my yard about 15 years ago. In the last several years, small shoots have been sprouting up around the tree base, are getting more dense and spreading into the grass. I assume these are from the root system. I have cut them back to the ground with an edger, and mow over them, but cannot get rid of them. Is there a way to eliminate them without affecting the tree itself? I have Live Oaks that were there prior to the house, but they do not create this problem. Thanks

ANSWER:

Sorry, but the only safe way to get rid of those sprouts is to cut them off. You can dig down and cut them off below ground. They will still return but it will take them a little longer to come back out again than if you cut them off at or above the surface. Any sort of herbicide you might use will affect the growth of the parent tree and I'm sure you don't want that to happen. According to John Begnaud, horticulturist, writing in Go San Angelo:

"To date, there are no repellants, hormones or chemical sprays that reliably suppress or remove thse suckers without harming the mother trees. Hand grubbing or deeproot pruning can reduce these suckers for a few years at best and then they will return."

You can read the answer to a previous question concerning the problem of live oak sprouts.

 

More Trees Questions

Live oak sprouts in Austin
August 01, 2010 - How can I control the hundreds of live oak sprouts our lovely trees are throwing off? We recently landscaped with rain gardens and the related drainage ditches; they are filled with these very happy ...
view the full question and answer

What is meant when Mimosa Tree is described as an invasive tree in San Antonio TX?
May 14, 2013 - When it is stated that the Mimosa Tree is invasive, does that mean that the Roots are invasive or does it mean that the seed pods will drop and make many more trees ?
view the full question and answer

Should shredded Ashe juniper be composted for mulch?
May 06, 2009 - Our neighbor shredded some Texas Hill Country cedar trees. Can we use it safely as mulch? Do we need to wait until it composts some?
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
January 31, 2011 - What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.
view the full question and answer

Trees for Parker, Colorado that will not harm horses
March 21, 2009 - we are searching for trees that will grow well in Parker Colorado and not be poisonous to our horses
view the full question and answer

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