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

Tuesday - April 02, 2013

From: Porter, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Slow development in Shumard Oak from Porter TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We had two Shumard Oaks Planted in Sept of last year (2012). About a month later, they started browning and dropping their leaves (no color change). Now I noticed on one of the trees the buds have started producing leaves, but the leaves are yellowish. Call me silly but I thought they were supposed to be green when they first budded. The other tree, has some buds, that seem to be getting bigger but it is doing so at a much slower rate. I am wondering if I need to contact the nursery where I got them, or is it nothing to worry about.

ANSWER:

If they were planted by a nursery, that should certainly be your first call. A lot of plants are developing a little late this year because of the heat and drought. The nursery should have given you instructions about watering the trees. When we recommend care of newly-planted trees, we always suggest sticking a hose down in the (hopefully) soft soil around the tree and letting the hose drip slowly until water appears on the surface. September is a little early, in our judgment, to plant a tree. We like to see woody plants, trees and shrubs, planted  in cold weather, November to January, while the plants are semi-dormant. Especially having planted the tree in the still-hot month of September, you should have been doing that deep watering about two times a week until the end of November or heavy rains (which, you know, we didn't have.)

Our diagnosis is transplant shock, which could have been caused by lack of water, being planted in the heat, root damage, the roots being pot-bound (left in the pot too long and roots winding around), or even the tree having been out of the ground too long before it was planted. If the trees are leafing out on all the branches, that is a good sign. However, transplant shock can manifest itself 3 years after planting, so the trees should be watched and tenderly cared for. DO NOT FERTILIZE. The purpose of fertilizer is to force new growth, stressing a tree that is obviously already stressed.

Note the growing condition of Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak):

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Quercus shumardii is a relatively fast-growing and adaptable oak. This species is quite drought resistant and also withstands short-term flooding. It is similar to the Texas or Spanish oak, but prefers deeper soils and tends to grow taller and straighter. Provides good fall foliage color."

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, the Shumard Oak is native in the region of Montgomery County. We always like to check this to help ensure that the soils, climate and rainfall are appropriate for the plant in question. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

More Planting Questions

Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
October 18, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, thank you for helping me with my buffalo grass is San Marcos TX back in the spring, my lawn is gorgeous thanks to you! I really need your help as someone sabotaged my beauti...
view the full question and answer

Planting under Pine Trees in Pocatello ID
April 08, 2014 - Hi I was wondering if you could give me some ideas of what I could plant under and near some pine trees for my area. The trees are huge and so it is also constant shade where I want to plant. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Need to find an alternative to Bradford Pear in the Woodlands, TX
September 18, 2011 - Hello! I am trying to find an alternative tree to a Bradford Pear. I love the seasonal change in these and ordered one, but after the many negative reviews I've read (smell, weakness in branches, mes...
view the full question and answer

Survival of native yaupon in The Woodlands, TX after hurricane
September 25, 2008 - One of my large native yaupons trees (8ft) fell away from a group during the hurricane. I have uprighted and tied it off for stability. Now the leaves are all brown and falling. Is the tree dead or...
view the full question and answer

Should I purchase wax myrtle plants as liners or pots
July 18, 2011 - I want to buy some wax myrtle over internet.Place has wax myrtle "liners" They look very thin. Will these bushes grow quickly or should I spend more $ for 1 gallon plants. Just need a hedge fairly q...
view the full question and answer

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