Live Oaks – Water Sprouts and Suckers

If you live in Austin, we guarantee you’ve seen more than a few Live Oak trees. They are native, evergreen, and don’t need too much water to be healthy. However, Live Oaks are notorious for producing small, fast-growing off shoots commonly known as water sprouts or suckers. They can appear for a variety of reasons:

  • Leafy growth in an area newly exposed to sunlight to provide a new opportunity for photosynthesis
  • Stress from lack of water or disease
  • Storm damage
  • Over-pruning (the tree needs to compensate for the loss of leaf surface)

While suckers can be an eye-sore, they need to be removed by professionals. Sometimes, they shade the trunk of a live oak and prevent sun scalding. With direct sunlight, a tree’s bark begins to crack exposing the vascular system to pests. When pruning suckers, it is best practice to remove the weakest suckers and those that grow in undesirable places. We are happy to send by an estimator or certified arborist to take a look at your trees and give you some feedback. Also, remember that it not wise to trim oaks during the spring in order to avoid oak wilt.