Live Oak Tree Help

ken75070(7B)May 19, 2014

I have this tree, it was put in 3 years ago and pretty much hasn't grown any, All the other plants the home builder put in were root bound that we have changed, So

What can or what are my choices to it growing , would it recover and grow if I redig/replant it and cut the roots ,or should I just replace it?

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The base of the tree needs to be at the grade in the tree well. It looks like it's too deep in the ground.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i disagree ... there is no reason the wall cant be higher ..

but i cant tell if its telephone polled ...

and i suspect landscape fabric ...

i wouldnt mess with a tree that large ... except with the full understanding that it will die if you try.. and then hope to be pleasantly surprised if it does not ...

but absolutely for sure... you do it in the proper DORMANT SEASON... not weeks before the heat of summer ...

even evergreen trees.. have a dormant season ...

but i dont know your area.. or this tree.. to suggest the best timing.. i am sure someone else will roll thru with that info ...

and at that time of year.. if it loses every single leaf... so what.. if it survives.. it will releaf in spring ...


    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Im in north Texas, the heat is just starting, 88 today

There is mulch and a preformed tree ring around the base of the tree, the brick work was added after the tree was planted,

I will pull the much and ring back and post a pic,

A couple of neighbors have replaced there trees and they are all growing well, our just looks wimpy and not growing at all,

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:51PM
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Live oaks often upsize two to three foot a year in their early life, here in North Texas. Everything started growing a couple of months ago. It's mostly clay soil, here, and that means much more sensitivity/disease to a buried flare...and that's what I'm seeing...this tree should live a thousand years, not twenty...

OP, you should be able to literally step on the root flare. You can call an arborist that will take an air spade to it to, and expose the flare and look for problems, if it's beyond what you are comfortable with...but I'd poke around and see if you can find it, first...

FIrst clue was, "All the other plants the home builder put in were root bound". To me, that tree is just going to disappoint for years and probably die.

(They are a dime a dozen, but a superior tree for the region. Good looking, but don't really get all gnarly until a hundred years down the road.)

I'm confused, Ken, as I defer my general tree knowledge to most of you regular tree peeps... after three years, Houston, somethin' just ain't right...

If you tell me I'm wrong, I'll gladly concede, without a whimper... I see hundreds of this species with a simple drive...and they are a rock solid choice and healthy in our climate..drought tolerant after established...

(If worse comes to worse, OP, Chambersville Tree Farm has large specimens grown in root trappers. No synthetic ferilizers, so well developed roots for the tree's size. The medium is mostly compost. If you decide to replace with the usually not-recommended, larger size than around 5 gallons, you know where to go...I've been there several times, but am too cheap to buy large....)

Anyways, listen to Ken and the rest...None of my trees I'll ever have to worry about, because I planted them myself, removed all the potting soil, and planted them high high high. (No, not mj, I mean, above grade. I see no point in planting at grade in our soils). So, no buried root flares, girdling roots, etc., to worry over. Maybe I'm o-c, could be...


    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:10AM
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No Live oak expert here, but many have had a horrible winter. Could the top be da,maged from winter? Other than that digging down to see the root flare could help. Just a guess.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 2:13AM
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For now, I would try to expose the root flare as mentioned above and be sure to water it well during the summer. It should come out and start to do better. See where you're at in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Plant a tree too high, it won't die.
Plant a tree too low, and it won't grow.
That tree looks awful.
And it's on your front lawn?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 12:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ken, your tree has pretty severe tip die-back and cannot recover. Builders often use the cheapest source of trees and shrubs they can find; that can be bad news for the homeowner. I've seen horrible specimens, even culls which should have been turned into mulch, planted in the new yards of unsuspecting property owners.

I have a prejudice against Live Oaks for several reasons that I'd like you to think about. But remember that I love these majestic trees passionately, even though it may not sound like it.

First of all, Live Oaks take many years (generations) to reach their potential beauty. Until that time, they are gawky, spindly, and homely. Do you really want something that looks like that in your front yard?

Secondly, they don't provide any shade, to speak of, until they are quite mature. Shade, in your location, should be important.

Third, Live Oaks offer zero seasonal interest; no fall color, no pretty spring flowers, no interesting winter silhouette....zilch. They are boring!

Fourth, they are overused, almost to the point of monoculture. Often the first tree chosen for new developments, street plantings, and city scapes even though they offer very little in interest and beauty. And monoculture of trees has a precedent that we shouldn't forget. (American Elm killed by the hundreds of thousands.)

Your Live Oak is not a good one. I would replace it with a lovely, well grown something or another of your choice....even another Live Oak. Don't try to find a large specimen....the younger a tree is, the faster it acclimates. Younger trees can easily outpace a bigger tree planted on the same day.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Thank you for all the feedback,

Now to wait or plant now
The soil is heavy clay, would it be ok to back fill the the brick planter and plant it properly or plant it in the clay soil.
my wife wants to put daylilies around edge, the ring is 55" across.
The weather is hitting mid to high 80s and will continue to clime

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 10:13PM
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look for a bigtooth maple, its native to Texas, drought and disease resistant, has decent fall colors.

i have two medium sized Live oaks in the front yard. i chopped down the one in the backyard a few years ago that the builder planted. i have some nice fruit trees now.

my main problem with any oaks are the tons of acorn that sprout in the spring.

they are majestic once mature and very large.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 11:12PM
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