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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

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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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!

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Wednesday - October 08, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Recommendations for mature oak for Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Mr. smarty pants- We would like to purchase a mature oak tree and have it planted in our yard in Austin. Recommendations, things to be aware of, you know, the general smarty pants treatment. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Hey!  It's Mr. Smarty PLANTS, not Pants!

First of all, Mr. SP would recommend that you avoid any of the oaks that are prone to oak wilt since tree mortality from the disease in Travis County is high.  While all oak species are more or less susceptible to oak wilt, the Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership has identified the following oaks as extremely susceptible to oak wilt (and thus, to be avoided)Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak), Quercus texana (Texas red oak), Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak)—and has identified the live oaks (Quercus virginiana (live oak) and Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) as intermediate in their susceptibility to the fungus. 

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends that you choose one of the white oaks (Quercus stellata (post oak), Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak), Quercus polymorpha (netleaf white oak), Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak), Quercus laceyi (Lacey oak), Quercus sinuata (bastard oak) or Quercus sinuata var. breviloba (white shinoak)) that are resistant to oak wilt.

You, of course, want to select a healthy tree and then plant it properly in an ideal location.  For that purpose, the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service has good advice about selecting trees from a nursery, planting, pruning and other tree issues that Mr. SP recommends that you read.

You can search for nurseries in Austin who specialize in native plants by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.  You can also check out our upcoming Plant Sale & Gardening Festival for the above recommended oak species.


Quercus stellata

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus polymorpha

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus laceyi

Quercus sinuata

Quercus sinuata var. breviloba

 

 

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