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
2 ratings

Sunday - May 13, 2012

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: Stump sprouting of Oak trees in the wildfire area in Bastrop, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We live in Bastrop, Texas, in the wildfire area. We lost all of our trees. The oak trees have "suckers" growing from the base of the burned tree that has been cut down. They look like little bushes. Can we cut out all but one of the suckers and have a successful tree? Will the tree be a strong tree? Thank you so much.

ANSWER:

This lets you know that the roots are still alive. What you are seeing are likely stump sprouts rather than suckers, and they are providing nutrition to the roots.

Eventually, you will want to eliminate most of the sprouts,  leaving a main sprout that will become the trunk of the regenerated tree. But don’t do it too soon. Let the tree have lots of leaves during the growing season.
This process is being studied in California and Apalachia as a means of re-establishing hardwood forests that have been harvested or burned. See the links below.

University of California Oak Woodland Management

University of California at Davis

forestencyclopedia.net

So it looks like there is a chance of getting a replacement for your oak tree if you are patient.

 

More Trees Questions


July 27, 2015 - Hi, thanks for all your help in the past! I have a generous spot in my spacious back yard that is begging to be filled. The top soil is 4" sandy loam, below which is black clay.With frog strangler r...
view the full question and answer

What will grow under neighbor's overhanging tree in Grosse Pointe Woods MI
May 29, 2011 - My next door neighbor has a beautiful tree that is easily 60 years old and thus not going anywhere. Unfortunately, for me the roots of this tree have extended under a large corner of my back yard. Add...
view the full question and answer

Treating suspected drought-stressed live oak
July 13, 2011 - I have a live oak with excessive leaf drop - it was planted approx. 20 year ago surrounded by heavy pavers. very little grass - I did not plant the tree - I have noticed in the last few years the dro...
view the full question and answer

Grafting different colors of Tecoma from Casa Grand AZ
April 01, 2014 - Is it possible to graft different colors of tecoma and if yes, is the process same as process for grafting roses?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing non-invasive flowering tree from Carlsbad CA
April 17, 2013 - Looking for fast growing flowering tree with non-invasive roots.
view the full question and answer

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