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

Thursday - July 23, 2009

From: Moore, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves turn yellow to brown, as if the tree has its seasons mixed up. Since middle of June we have had record high temperatures. I would like help diagnosing the problem and hopefully the tree is not dead. I have noticed other trees doing the same thing. I hope it is just the heat and or a water problem. Your answer could help many others just in my neighborhood area.

ANSWER:

The Nuttall Oak (Quercus nuttalli)  is also known as Quercus texana (Texas red oak), and this is the name that is used in our Native Plant Information Network (NPIN) Database. If you click on the link above, you will get the NPIN page that describes the tree and tells about its growth characteristics and habitat. Scroll down the page to the USDA link which shows its distribution. Two points to note; its native habitat includes flood plains and bottomlands, and Oklahoma is not included in its natural distribution.

Our first thought is that the tree is suffering from transplant shock. This is a rather large tree to transplant, and the root system has not grown enough to keep up with the water demand in the hot and dry conditions. Pruning is sometimes suggested as a relief for transplant shock, but pruning red oaks in the summer is an invitation for infestation with Oak Wilt. A slow drip of water with a hose into the root area every other day for a week or two may help.

If you had the tree planted by a reputable nursery, they should be able to offer some suggestions. The service of a certified arborist can also be helpful, and this link to the International Society of Arboriculture will help you find one in Oklahoma City.

Here is an answer to a previous question regarding transplant shock in oak trees that may prove helpful.

 

 

More Planting Questions

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Problem with magnolias and yaupon in Prosper TX
May 13, 2012 - Problem with Little Gem magnolia - 3 little gems planted next to a fence, in Prosper, TX. Planted 3 years ago, 2009, one of the trees is now withering. The other 2 are doing fine, the one has leaves...
view the full question and answer

Where to find milkweeds and other butterfly favorites
March 07, 2016 - Our neighborhood in San Antonio is planning a big Arbor Day celebration. One of the events will focus on Monarch Butterflies. We will be releasing some live ones in our park and will have a booth th...
view the full question and answer

Decline ot Heartleaf rosemallow from Austin
March 26, 2012 - My tulipan del monte -a new small plant from the wildflower center--did great all winter and was forming a new flower bud, just died in a matter of a few days. It looks like it "dried up", no visib...
view the full question and answer

Plants for winter installation in Houston
January 01, 2009 - What plants can you plant in the winter, Houston, Texas?
view the full question and answer

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