Chinkapin Oak-Time To Pull The Plug?

bjb817September 13, 2012

I bought this guy two winters ago from Home Depot while it was still dormant. While it's grown probably a couple feet the past two seasons, its leaves have been small both years and always appeared sickly. Now the top has completedly lost its leaves, while some green ones still remain on the lower branches as you can see in the pic.

So here's my questions:

1-Since it's only a two year old tree, my first instinct is to cut bait and try again with something else. Am I giving up too quickly?

2-What caused it to fail like this? Other than having purchased a "bum" tree, the only thing I can think of is that there was a hackberry tree very near to where this is planted. While I did have the stump removed, there are apparently live roots in the area as suckers still appear. I've read that Hackberry's can have allelopathic(sp?) properties. Other than that I'm at a loss as most Chinkapin Oaks do well in this area.

For what it's worth, I planted a Monterrey Oak, also from Homer at the same time in a different part of the yard and it's thrived, so go figure.


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Bryan Scott

For starters, take another pic at the base of the tree.
Also, where exactly are you?

On your Montery Oak, that is one of the most resilient oak trees you can buy. Nurture that baby and let it fly.

As for your Crapberry suckers, they are well known for their berries sprouting shoots. They fall from tree and get buried. Then at some point the ground is disturbed (tree taken out), and they get water and air and start shooting up from the ground. Pull them out as needed....may take a season or two before they dwindle off.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I'm probably a stone's throw from you. I'm near Parmer and Mopac.

I'd take a pic of the whole tree, but it's raining out-woo hoo! There's actually about 4' of clear trunk below the bottom set of branches that doesn't show on the pic. I was trying to zone in on the crown with my crappy phone camera.

Yes, Monterrey Oak is definitely up there on my list of favorites. I've planted one at my last two houses as well and all flourished.

Crapberry, no kidding. Some sprouts could be from berries, but I'm in the process of building a retaining wall about 10' from where the old thing was. Almost all the sprouts I've run into were attached to big sections of old roots. Like you say though, I figure if I stay after it, eventually they'll all give up!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:18PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I put in a Chinquapin (also Home Depot, I think) about three years ago, to replace a long-gone Arizona Ash in the front yard. It has thrived. When it went in, it was a 5-foot stick. Now it's a very well filled out and lush 15-foot tree with acorns

The two trees you put in are among the best for Oak Wilt resistance.

Your problem with the Chinquapin is surprising. Looks to be in a well watered yard, so it isn't as if the hideous drought last year should have taken any toll. In fact, what I'm seeing in your picture looks like classic drought response. Loss of top leaves first often shows water stress.

I have to wonder if you planted it on a shallow bed of caliche, which basically wouldn't give the roots anywhere to go. Oak roots can usually find their way through cracks, but maybe not here. Though the Hackberry appears to have done OK.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Bryan Scott

Yep- pretty close- I'm at 183 and Anderson Mill (a mile or so south of Lakeline Mall).

I agree with the possibility of drought response. The one thing I want to see is if your root flair is exposed or not, even for a young tree. Most trees, purchased from the big box stores, have the tree's root ball sitting in a container of some sort and the dirt in those containers are usually filled up to the top edge, which, is significantly higher than the root flair of the tree. Sometimes people will take those home and plant them too deep or too shallow because they don't see the tree's root flair. This can either smother the tree's roots (if planted too deep) or they will not be able to take hold correctly (if planted too shallow). Either way the tree can suffer. One should always remove the excess soil down to the root flair before planting. Then plant with root flair at ground level. So really, what I am asking you for (for the picture), really is to check and see if you can see the little root flair just at the soil line. If not, you might have planted too deep and the tree is suffocating.

The other thing is how much you are watering and does your soil drain well. Chinquapin's require well drained soil.

Anyways, post back what you find...and Happy Friday!!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:05AM
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