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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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Wednesday - May 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Live oak wobbling in the ground from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a live oak that was not planted firmly in the ground by the subdivision builder's landscapers. The entire tree is wobbly to the touch and it has come close to dying as result of windy conditions. It does, however, grow very slowly. I'm concerned that as it gains height, it could be blown over. Should we cut it down, or let it continue to grow?

ANSWER:

This is definitely a serious problem and not anything we could advise you on. You should have a licensed arborist look at the tree, and see if there is anything that could be changed. You could probably dig it out, move it to a bigger, well-prepared hole and hope for the best. However, you shouldn't do that until between November and February because of the danger of Oak Wilt. Plus, quite frankly, we think the tree would die of transplant shock, anyway. The Live Oak is a valuable tree, but the threat of a tree falling on a person or house or car is not worth taking chances.

 

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