June 8, 2012

Don't Be Hatin' Cause They're Good at What They Do


Central Texas is known for the graceful, shade providing canopies of Live Oaks that pepper our landscape and we're fortunate to have several on our property.

Sometimes, though, truth be told, I'm not always grateful.

The sprouts are forever popping up in all the beds.  Hundreds of them.  And I'm certain that the more you pull them, the more they grow, only to return more vigorous and dense than before.


Yes, this is a sprout growing out of limestone.  Can you believe that?  Not a smidgen of soil and this sprout is not only surviving but thriving!  Not only is it growing out of rock but it's growing in full shade.

A friend visiting my garden recently commented that I don't have any oak sprouts...not like she does, she said.  This post is for you, Pam.

This weekend, I'm going to let these little suckers live.  I won't pull them.  I'm going to embrace them.  Love them for their instinct and tenacity to survive and reproduce.  They are a marvel, really.

But come Monday, they are outta here! 

*Oak sprouts should be pulled or carefully dug up as chemical applications have the potential to damage the parent trees.  



24 comments:

  1. I was out there whacking at some of those suckers today, Cat. I hope you enjoy your Zen-like weekend of live-and-let-live before Monday's eviction! :-)

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    1. Definitely didn't want you to feel so alone, Pam! Seems a whole new crop popped up this week.

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  2. I love live oaks for their interesting shapes but I feel your pain. I am constantly pulling oak seedlings everywhere in my garden. You would think with the number of squirrels I have they would eat all the nuts but alas they are lazy and always eating from the bird feeders. The one growing from the rock is amazing! A true survivor!

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  3. I've read on a few blogs that oak sprouts are a real pain and it seems so odd as I would love to have oaks sprouting in my yard. I've been tending the one oak tree I purchased like a baby. Do voles and other critters not eat the sprouts there?

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    1. We don't have a problem with deer in our neighborhood but I understand that deer will eat the sprouts.

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  4. no live oaks here. glad to have the bur oaks, though!

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  5. Oh they are pesky and worse than ever this year. So bad I'm considering letting them grow as groundcover!

    Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. Very interesting, and that makes sense any chemicals will do more harm to the mother plants. I like the groundcover approach some use with the sprouts, at least some spaces. Have fun when your truce ends Monday.....

    I removed my young Escarpment Live Oaks, since they showed signs of out-growing the space, mocking the granite bedrock...sprouts still there!

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    1. I'm not willing to give up my limited planting beds to the oak sprouts just yet, David! Greggo tells an interesting story below though about someone who did just that!

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  7. Hill Country gardeners know exactly what you mean.
    Those sprouts are one thing I'm glad the deer eat. They keep them chomped down, outside the fence. Inside, it's my job.
    Enjoy your weekend.

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  8. Ha ha. I remember someone letting them grow and then trimming them into a manicured 4' hedge. You would of thought they were yaupon hollies.

    Root sprouts in the wild turn into colonies of trees which is why when oak wilt effects a live oak tree it spreads from tree to tree.

    I understand your pain.

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    1. Ha! Greggo, I think Pam (Digging) may be contemplating the hedge idea. She battles them in one bed especially and if she could work them into her design plan, I think she would!

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  9. It's strange, some Live Oaks seek a non-suckering life and others produce them by the truckload.
    And then there are the sprouting acorns. That's my problem but they do pull up much easier than the suckers.
    I wonder if deer eat live oak suckers instead of other garden plants? That would be a match made in heaven.
    The sucker growing through limestone reminds me of the time I saw nutsedge growing straight through an asphalt parking lot...and it wasn't along a crack! Whew!
    :0) David

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    1. David, I was just having this conversation on FB with some friends. Seems we have made the same observations about the sprouts. It's so satisfying when a sprout pulls up easily, nut and all. So satisfying, in fact, that I wrote a post about it last fall!

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  10. I have maple and ash trees that are now growing because I missed a few...thousands this year to try and get to....no chemicals just hand pulling

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  11. Weekend's almost over... quite sure those little sprouts are shaking in their boots!
    Nice that you gave them a weekend to remember. ♥

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  12. D just snipped ours last week and I had just done them a month before. Annoying little blighters.

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    1. Jenny, ours had just been pulled a month ago too. I wish everything else was as sturdy as they are!

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  13. Hi, Cat ~ They don't have much time left. Growing out of limestone...wow, they are tough. Currently, I have been pulling out nut grass. It drives me crazy!!!!!! Hope things are going well.

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  14. The Live Oaks are so different from the Oaks we have here--but like all Oaks they are amazing! I can't believe the huge ones we saw in New Orleans--with branches stretching out for yards and yards! But I can see how those seedlings would get on your nerves. Still, you have to appreciate their tenacity!

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  15. As they say, 'live and let live'... I have come to accept the grass and weeds in my garden as part of the landscape...

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  16. This post made me feel better. I had no idea what they were and they seem to multiply like Star Trek Tribbles. As soon as I dig up a patch and pat myself on the back, I turn around and there is a double sized patch in another part of my yard. Now I know why margaritas are so popular in Texas....

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    1. Margaritas at my place, anytime!

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Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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