How to Care for a Shumard Oak

by Alicia Bodine

Add substance and color to your landscape with distinguished-looking shumard oak (Quercus shumardii), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. This annual deciduous shade tree can reach an impressive 80 feet tall with spreads between 50 and 60 feet. Its crown is round in shape with dark green foliage. If you have a shumard oak planted by your sidewalk or driveway, you'll want to take proper care of it so it will continue to provide you with adequate shade during the hot summer months.

1 Prune your shumard oak so that all of the main branches remain at least half the size of the trunk's diameter. The University of Florida's Forest Service recommends this to ensure that the tree doesn't develop more than one trunk.

2 Water your shumard oak tree regularly so that the soil surrounding the tree is moist. Oak trees are drought tolerant to some extent, but online plant resource Floridata warns that shumard oak trees will drop their leaves during extended drought periods.

3 Apply a complete 16-4-8 slow-release fertilizer around the shumard oak tree's root spread. Clemson University Cooperative Extension recommends keeping the nitrogen level at 2 to 4 pounds for every 1,000 square feet of root spread. Use the fertilizer once in the spring, and once in the summer.

4 Inspect your shumard oak tree for insects and pests. Although there aren't any pests that are capable of killing your oak tree, locating and eliminating any insects when you see them will keep your tree as healthy as possible. Some pests to watch for include caterpillars, mites, scales and borers. Remove unwanted pests with a steady stream of water, or an insecticide that contains the natural ingredient pyrethroids.

5 Watch your tree for diseases. Again, there are no diseases that will threaten the life of your shumard oak tree, but you should be proactive in keeping your tree healthy. Common diseases among oak trees include powdery mildew, leaf blister, oak wilt and canker dieback. The best way to treat these diseases is to prune away any diseased leaves or branches.

Items you will need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticide

Warning

  • Shumard oaks do not propagate well from cuttings. Instead, you'll need to propagate your oak trees from seed.

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.