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

Saturday - March 25, 2006

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Susceptibility of Shumard oaks to oak wilt
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I have planted a red oak tree. I am still trying to locate the ID tag for the type. I planted it two or three years ago. I purchased the tree from either Lowes or Home Depot. Is there a type of red oak that is not susceptible to oak wilt? Shumard oak? A neighborhood 10 miles away has had oak wilt. Should I remove mine and consider a different tree for the neighborhood?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, red oaks are more susceptible to oak wilt than any other oaks. There is no red oak species that is immune to the disease. Once infected, a red oak will die faster from oak wilt than other oaks, usually within a few weeks as opposed to the few months it takes live oaks to succumb.

How various oaks become infected also differs. In live oaks connected by their roots in an area hit by oak wilt, the disease spreads at an average of 75 to 100 feet per year through the roots. With red oaks, the infection is almost always spread by certain flying insects to bark-damaged trees that may be far distant from the source tree, so rate of spread isn't as predictable.

As to whether to remove your tree or not, that's a hard question. There are neighborhoods here in Austin filled with beautiful, old and young native red oaks that haven't been infected and may never be. They add so much to the neighborhoods that it would be a shame to remove them, but proper preventive care must be addressed, mostly having to do with avoiding open wounds on the trees. More information on this and other oak wilt issues can be found on the following websites:

www.texasoakwilt.org
http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=1260
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/oakwilt

If you decide to remove your red oak, here are some suggestions for regional oak species that are not as vulnerable to oak wilt and would do well in your area:

Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
Lacey Oak (Quercus laceyi)
 

More Trees Questions

Effect of pecan trees on pool deck from Clovis CA
February 14, 2013 - I have pecan trees next to our pool deck. Are pecan trees invasive, will they lift up our pool deck?
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA
June 19, 2010 - Hi, I'd like to find a list of trees that are native, drought tolerant and suitable to the adobe soil in Penngrove. We will be landscaping a bare .5 acre parcel starting later this fall. Another fea...
view the full question and answer

Deadheading seedless desert willows for continued bloom in Phoenix AZ
May 31, 2010 - We planted two seedless desert willow trees this spring. Both have bloomed nicely but we now have many stems with the spent flowers still on the tree. Your database for this plant says to "Remove spe...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen for privacy shield in Weymouth, MA
April 28, 2009 - I am trying to find a good native evergreen tree that I can plant in a hedgerow to block noise and light coming from our neighbors property. We would need something that would grow tall because our h...
view the full question and answer

Sticky material dripping from tree in Austin
July 22, 2012 - The tree in my backyard is dripping what I surmise is sap - a thick,[email protected] sticky substance in July. What kind of tree is it and is there anything one can do prevent this from happening? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

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