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 - January 26, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Controlling oak suckers in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Austin TX and have one particular native Oak tree in my back yard with a large bed around it. I don't plan on planting anything else in the bed since it is already nicely landscaped along the back & edges of the bed, however, the root system sends up scads of "suckers" that are several inches high throughout the bed, requiring hours of continual, back-bending work to cut them off at ground level. I've put down porous landscape fabric & covered with mulch, but it only seems to be temporary. Is there anything else I can do to eliminate this constant, unsightly problem?

ANSWER:

This is a common complaint in Central Texas, so we have an excellent previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that should give you the help you need.

 

More Pruning Questions

Pruning tips for Texas Mountain Laurel.
October 09, 2011 - Towards the end of May, I planted some Mountain Laurel seeds in pots. They are about six inches high now and starting to branch out. Do I need to trim off the leaves on the main stem below the branche...
view the full question and answer

Tool for removing live oak root shoots in Gonzales TX
August 09, 2010 - I've read your answer to live oak root shoots. You said to get rid of them by going 2 to 4 inches below the surface and cutting them. What tool is best for this shoot removal? I'm getting very tir...
view the full question and answer

How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
May 20, 2013 - Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
view the full question and answer

Do yuccas die after blooming?
October 11, 2010 - We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to s...
view the full question and answer

When to Prune Desert Willow in Texas?
March 18, 2016 - I just learned I should have pruned back my desert willows. It's early March in North Texas. Is it too late to prune now? They are not leafing out yet.
view the full question and answer

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