Oak Trees

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  1. Ancient Live Oak Damaged by Names Cut Deep Into Bark
  2. Plants for Moist Shade
  3. Oak Tree Fungus?
  4. Planting Near Oaks
  5. Large Oak Tree
  6. New Garden Location
  7. Oak Limbs Falling Off
Asked by Anonymous on November 30, 2010
Ancient Live Oak Damaged by Names Cut Deep Into Bark

I volunteer at a tree perserve. Our oldest oak tree has been marked with knives and the outer layer of bark has been removed. aprox. 18” by 29”.

I have been asked to try to find a way to cover (mask the damage) .

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

I am sorry to hear vandals did this to your tree. You can't exactly hide the damage and the tree will repair itself, but you can make it so that the names are no longer there. Method 2 at the bottom of this article explains how to do that to the bark: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/repairing-tree-bark-damage.htm

Even on the parts that are cut deeply, you can cut a little deeper into the phloem and the cambium (deeper wood) layers to remove the deeper wood that would show what the words say. Do this just enough to obscure the words, perhaps just removing the interior of the letters. While it is awful they did it to such a grand old tree, fortunately, because it is older, it can take such damage and recover.

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Asked by Anonymous on December 31, 2010
Plants for Moist Shade

I am wanting to plant where it is shady and moist under a large oak tree. Could you suggest plants that would be suitable?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Hostas and ferns are the most common plants for this type of environment. You can find other suggestions in these articles: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/shade

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Asked by Anonymous on January 1, 2011
Oak Tree Fungus?

I have an oak tree with branches falling off. The branches have raisin-like pods attached. What is this? I haven’t been able to find any pictures of this online.

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

It sounds like the tree has cankers. There are several it could be but hypoxylon canker is the most common. This article will explain more: http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/main/popup.aspx?id=1262

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Asked by Anonymous on January 27, 2011
Planting Near Oaks

What are some shrubs or flowers that I can plant about 10 feet from a 70-year-old oak tree? I’d like to create a garden area of sorts since I can’t grow grass well, even 15 feet from the tree. Any suggestions on what would work? It’s a part shade area.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

You need plants that will grow in dry shade, and there are many. This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/xeriscape/xeriscape-shade-plants-plants-for-dry-shade.htm

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Asked by Anonymous on March 1, 2011
Large Oak Tree

I am buying a house with a huge oak tree in the front yard. It has many high branches, plenty of leaves, and the bark looks healthy (to my inexperienced eyes anyway). The problem is that it has a folded, hollow area in one side of the trunk with dried wood visible. I don’t know if this is a sign that the tree is unhealthy, or if it is just how the tree is growing. I am  just trying to figure out if this tree is eventually going to be a risk to my house or not.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Most of the time, these hollows are not a problem. The center part of the tree is dead anyway, so it is not affecting the health of the tree. To be honest, it is probably a home to an animal. Keep an eye on it, though. As long as it stays dry, there is no problem, but if you see rot set in, which will be damp wood that crumbles easily, you will want to have an arborist treat it to save the tree.

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Asked by Anonymous on March 20, 2011
New Garden Location

We just moved an old oak woodpile. Most of the wood has decomposed, leaving about 5 inches of organic material with small pieces up to 6 inches. Should I rake out the larger pieces and cover the area with black plastic? Some wood had mold. Do I have to worry about that with a vegetable garden?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

It will be a good place for a garden. The decomposing wood will help the plants. I would have the soil tested though, just in case. Sometimes the decomposition process can deplete the soil of nitrogen or make it acidic. As far as the larger chunks, as long as they are not interfering with your planting, you do not need to remove them.

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Asked by Anonymous on April 23, 2011
Oak Limbs Falling Off

We have a live oak that was planted as a baby about 15 year ago. Since then we have limbs that fall off the tree where the limbs meet the branch. Is this nomal or should we seek further help? These limbs are about three to four inches in diameter and they have live leaves on them.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

You may want to seek the advice of an arborist who specializes in these trees. A few branches falling now and then should not be a concern, but this does not sound normal. It could be suffering from a disease of some sort.

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