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Can I regrow an Oak Tree from one that has been cut down?

Posted by arabiansrgr8 Florida (My Page) on
Thu, May 14, 09 at 11:27


This is in my horse pasture. I have a few stumps and a few bare spots where the trees were there appear to be growing. The stumps are prob white oaks. Most of the bare spots appear to be Southern Oak, possibly white oaks. The leaves growing appear to be full sized oak leaves. They're 5-6 inches long, very,very long and narrow.

What I'd like to know is can I continue to let these grow into full productive long lived trees?

The stumps I prob won't consider growing as just doesn't seem viable to me plus wouldn't look very good. The ones that are growing from the ground though are very tempting to let continue to grow (with protection this time around). The horses are now out in this area only 4-8 hours a week max and eating grass then.

If it's important I can figure a way to post a pic.

Thanks so much!
Joyce :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can I regrow an Oak Tree from one that has been cut down?

Allow them to grow and see what happens. You may want to protect them from the horses, it depends on how many are growing, how many horses, and how big of an area.

Protection is up to you. That means you may loose some or all. Natural selection at work with a couple of modifications. (Namely the horses.)

RE: Can I regrow an Oak Tree from one that has been cut down?

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, May 14, 09 at 15:37

I think you're asking whether stump or root sprouts can eventually form a long-lived mature tree. The answer to this is yes. If the sprouts are allowed to continue to grow, they will grow into a viable tree.

One issue that may be a concern is root stability. When a sprout emerges as a sucker, it's root system is not equally spread out like the root system of a seed-grown tree. These trees may be somewhat more likely to be blown over, especially in their earlier years.

RE: Can I regrow an Oak Tree from one that has been cut down?

Hmmm..I wonder if the root system would eventually grow more eventually. I guess that's what you mean by being more unstable in the early years.

I guess I could leave them alone for a year or two and see what happens.

The horses tended to eat the bark back when there was no grass and I hadn't put up chicken wire around the trunks yet. *Sigh* Eventually I had to do just that in the back where they normally stay. But damage had been done to a dozen or more trees. Eventually there's a bare spot or more down to the middle portion of the tree (below the bark, not sure what it's called). Then, rot, bugs etc eventually weaken that part of the tree making it likely to fall depending on the amount of damage. We lost 5-6 in one of the hurricanes that cruised thru in 2006? (the year of Katrina and the 4 hurricanes in Florida). Now a few more need to come down since they're likely to fall on things we don't want them to fall on.

We've learned trees with wide, broad tops or any leaves at all actually are most susceptible during hurricanes. Pines (generally) and trees with very little leaves fair well. My Mom's place has a really large, sparse Cypress with a large eagle's nest at the top. This tree is taller by almost a half over all the others. These all surround a pond and were heavily leaved. They all toppled, leaned, went down but the Cypress and nest came thru with NO damage (3 hurricanes).

I sure wished I'd done the fencing sooner even if it does look silly. Luckily the Live Oak's were last on the 'hit' list and they only really got one or two very young ones.

RE: Can I regrow an Oak Tree from one that has been cut down?

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, May 15, 09 at 15:46

Yes, the root system would tend to spread out more over time, but might not be as likely to become sufficiently symmetrical as the root system of a seed grown tree. I've seen plenty of actual cases of this situation, but can't remember ever seeing any good scientific studies of the topic.

If you think about a sucker, all of its nutrient-supplying roots are in one direction to start with. If the main tree trunk is removed on the other side of the sucker, the root system between the last sucker and the trunk will probably eventually wither away. Nutrient flow patterns are resistant to change, so it's less likely that roots will develop on that side of the sucker. Initially, the sucker's entire root system will be one sided. Some roots should eventually develop in the other direction.

The degree to which the new tree will develop roots at its base probably depend on the tree species and many other things. The bottom line is that there are many unknown variables here, and stability may be an issue or you may never know the difference.

BTW, many of the huge redwood trees out in CA started out as suckers. Below is a clonal circle of redwoods that are left after the initial tree was logged decades ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Circle of Redwood Suckers

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