Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Monday - August 24, 2009

From: Mamou, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Trimming live oaks in Mamou LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have 3 large Live Oak trees in our yard. The problem we are having is when we trim a branch off so we can walk under the branch, the whole branch dies back. Is there a certain way to trim the limbs so they will not die ? We like them to hang low.

ANSWER:

First, you might want to learn more about the trees you have. The only live oak native to Louisiana is Quercus virginiana (live oak), which is also native in and around Evangeline Parish, so we are going to assume that is the tree you have. 

These are very fine, valuable trees and deserve good care to keep them healthy and long-lived. Read this article from American Forests Live Oak: The Ultimate Southerner for background on care. For more specific information, go to this USDA Forest Service website How To Prune Trees. There is a Table of Contents, and you should ideally read all the articles, but the most important one at this point is Pruning Practices that Harm Trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

More Trees Questions

Mulching in deep shade in Round Rock TX
June 22, 2010 - Central Texas: Problem is deep shade and high temps. I noted your advice about danger to the tree when planting beneath shade trees, but wonder if there is a substance - perhaps pine needles - that co...
view the full question and answer

Difference in acorn yields from Georgetown TX
December 27, 2012 - Why do some live oaks produce acorns in abundance and others do not?
view the full question and answer

Source for Ashe Juniper seeds from Blanco Co., TX
March 10, 2014 - I'm trying to find Ashe Juniper seeds to plant in bare areas of my property in central Texas. I understand they grow well in rockier soil and have many other benefits for native animal species. Unfo...
view the full question and answer

Pollenless Cedar Elms for Georgetown, Texas
September 28, 2010 - I am considering planting the Cedar Elm tree at my home in Georgetown, Texas. I was under the impression that only the female of the species produces the irritating pollen. Is this true?
view the full question and answer

Swarming insects on non-native willow in Washington PA
September 25, 2011 - I have had a very large, beautiful pillow willow bush/tree growing next to our garage for about 8 years. Last year at the end of August, it began to attract white-faced hornets and yellow jackets by t...
view the full question and answer

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