99 thoughts on “All About Monterrey Oaks”

  1. I have a Monterey Oak that was planted two years ago. It was in a 500 gallon container. Lately, I have seen ligth green leaves grow at the end of branches. That is, the first part of the branch has dark green leaves and at the end the light green leaves. Is this common?

    1. Wow! That is an enormous container grown tree. I’d need to see a picture of the leaves to be certain. It is normal for new leaves to come out an off color and then turn green as they develop. Usually, with monterrey oaks the leaves have more of a red color when they first emerge. If they are coming out yellow that may be an indication of a problem. Can you email me a photo to keith at AustinTreeExperts dot com?

    1. The leaves look normal. They should develop into a healthy green color in the next several weeks.


  2. We have two Monterrey Oaks that were planted about 3 1/2 years ago. They are both about 12-15 feet in height and have what appear be healthy leaves. However, they exhibit vertical cracking/splitting on the base of the trunk extending up about 12 inches from the ground. One has a white, foamy substance oozing from the cracks (photos attached). There is also what appears to be ants swarming the cracks. Any thoughts?


    1. The seepage at the base is called slime flux. It is a bacterial thing. But, not worth treating. This problem does not cause major problems for the tree in my experience. Put the tree on a good fertilization regimen and watch it close.

      1. Could you please advise the type of fertilization regimen we should apply. We’re not that familiar with tree fertilizers and application methods.

  3. I just planted my monterey oak in the spring but the leaves keep turning brown and the top leaves have little holes in them. What do I do?

    1. enclosed pls find the pictures of my monterrey oak.
      Please tell me what to do???


      1. Considering how late we are in the season, I’m not too worried about some of the premature leaf drop. The sap coming from the trunk is another story. I’d guess that you have some boring insects that are creating a wound that sap is weeping from. You should do a borer treatment with a product such as Bayer tree and shrub insect control. It would probably be best to hire a pro. We offer programmed tree care services. You’d spend about $200 per year for 4 treatments including any insect and disease control as needed.

  4. I have just planted 3 Monterrey oaks. Approx caliper is 2″ and they are about 8-10 feet in height. I think they were 15 or 20 gallon. I noticed this morning that two of the trees have leaves turning yellow at the ends of the branches in a few places. They have been in the ground one week and I have been watering them every other day.

    Brian in Cedar Park

  5. Keith,
    Here are 3 pics to go along with my query about leaves turning yellow on my just planted Monterrey Oak


    1. This is normal color for new growth on a monterrey oak. Nothing to worry about here. You do need to try to get the piece of bamboo out of the ground near the trunk. In 2-3 years you’ll need to do a root flare excavation. Looks like the farm that grew your tree filled in too much soil around the trunk.

  6. We have 2 50 gallon oak trees. One a Chinquapin and the other a Monterey.
    They were planted 2 years ago and are good condition. I want to know when a good time to prune the two would be. They are each getting disproportionately tall and I would like to create better proportions by cutting some of the branches for fullness.
    Any info would be appreciated.

    1. Less is more in regards to pruning for the first several years. Any pruning you do needs to be very conservative. Generally, I only like to address structural issues in the first 3-8 years ( influence a central leader and remove crossing limbs).

  7. Keith,
    See the attached images. I just planted a 3.5″ Monterrey Oak 2 weeks ago that was a b&b tree from North of Dallas. When I planted it, the leaves were what I would consider “normal.” Shortly after planting, the leaves looked, and still look, like they do in the pictures – a yellow tint and stiffer than normal. Is this something I should be worried about? Too little water? Too much water? Too much fertilizer/root stimulator?
    Thanks for the help!

    PS – I can’t get the images to save to your blog. I’ve tried two different sized images on 3 different browsers and 2 different operating systems.

  8. I also have a new Monterrey Oak planted maybe a month ago…250 gallons. I live in Austin & was told by the landscaper that it would be green year round but over the last couple of weeks, most of the leaves have turned yellow…a little help? I really hope I’m not losing it!!!

  9. I have planted 12 large Monterrey oaks in the yard over the last few years. With the very cold weather they do lose a lot of leaves but they come back fine. I was told they would not lose leaves but they do. Actually the Chinquapin oak I planted is better about keeping its leaves than the Monterrey oaks. Someone told me differently but in San Antonio this is not the case. Either way, they are 2 very beautiful oak trees. Not to worry if they lose their leaves. This year 2011 my 12 Monterrey oaks have lost about 1/3 of their leaves in very cold weather and about 1/4 of the remaining leaves have changed color and will probably drop before spring.

    1. Probably nothing. If it’s a newly planted tree, it’ll be happy for the water even though it’s dormant season. This is assuming you aren’t over watering, that’s never ok. Type ‘water’ in the search box on the right and check out those articles.

  10. We planted to 2 monterry oaks 2 years ago .All the leaves turned brown when the first small cold front came. The leaves haven’t fallen off and I don’t see any new ones . Has my tree died? They were healthy before.

  11. Interesting and informative website. Earlier this year, we planted two Mexican White or Monterrey Oaks, which we purchased from different places. Both appear to be doing well, but one has much smaller leaves than the other. Is this just normal, a result of different breeding or something to be concerned about? Thanks.

  12. i’m creating a web page for wildlife habitat creation in the austin area and would like to provide a link to your pages for information regarding trees. may i do so?

  13. I have a Monterrey Oak that was planted about 2 years ago here in Houston. I’ve noticed this year that there is some sort of scale on the leaves. When scratched this scale exudes a bit of oily/greasy substance. Do you know what this is and what can be done about it? The tree looks healthy except for this, and was fertilized last fall.
    Thank you

    1. It probably was some variety of scale insect. These insects are very easy to treat; you should be able to go to your local garden store and tell them your problem to get a good product to treat with. Regarding the fertilizer… good fertilization practice involves regimented treatments if you really want to see an improvement in the tree’s health. Check out this article: https://www.austintreeexperts.com/blog/tree-fertilizer-products-for-the-do-it-yourselfer/

  14. We have a Monterrey oak that we planted 2 years ago. This winter it lost nearly all of its leaves. Only the leaves on the bottom half came back this Spring. The top ~4 feet is completely bare. Will it come back? Is the top half dead? Should we prune it?

    1. Any part that doesn’t have leaves at this point, isn’t going to leaf out. Prune out the dead parts and start a good fertilization regimen.

  15. trying to plant a 125 gal monterrey this weekend but dont know how much water to give it for the first two years? I read that planting in June might not be a good idea. Please help so i dont make mistakes.

  16. Planted 50 gal monterrey year ago May and it seems to be doing well except for a bit of bark on the lower trunk that seems to be peeling off. Is this normal? And, when do I fertilize tree for 1st time? Thx

  17. Keith,
    Would you recommend against planting a Monterrey Oak between two houses that are ~15-20 feet apart? I understand that the trees grow straighter than other oaks, and I am wondering if the roots do the same. I am trying to avoid slab/root damage as the tree matures.

  18. Keith,
    I am worried that my Mexican White Oak might be dying. I live in south texas(The Rio Grande Valley). I purchased a 10-gal, approx. 10 ft tall Mexican White Oak tree from Home Depot back in March/2011 – It had an orange tag on it that stated that i came from a nursery in Ben Wheeler,TX. I planted it on 3/19/11. In reference to planting it, I followed the instructions from a local nursery. I began watering it according to the instructions i found on this website, in the article titled, “How to Water a Newly Planted Tree” (posted May 3, 2010). Throughout the rest of the month of march – towards mid-may, my tree looked good. I mean the leaves remained green and big(about 2 inches long). Sometime towards the end of May and to this day, the tips on the leaves of my Mexican White Oak began and are turning brown – they have not shrunk, nor have they fallen off. Another thing i did was get my hands on some humic acid and applied it to the tree throughout this time period. I applied the humic acid 3 times so far, once in april, may, and june. Each time i applied 2 oz of humic acid with 15 gallons of water. I would take a 5 gallon bucket, put 1 oz of humic acid and then filled it with 5 gals of H2O, did it again and finally the third time i would just fill the 5 gal bucket with only H2O. I also applied Superthirve once – May – the same day that i applied the humic acid. For the Superthrive, I took one ounce and mixed it with 5 gals of water. From what i have told you, what do you think is wrong with my tree? Why are the tips of the leaves brown?

  19. I planted a chinquapin oak about 15 feet from my slab driveway. Do I have to worry about slab damage from the root system as the tree matures?

  20. We live in San Antonio and in our backyard we have a section that is open, we can therefore see right into our back neighbors house, we have been told of two tress to look at, hillspire Juniper or Monterrey Oak. Any idea which one would be better.


  21. Hi, Keith. I live in new jersey, but i was born in an area of mexico that is very hot and most what i see there is mesquite. I was wondering if some time in the future i can go to my place and plant some monterrey oak trees. I am a master gardener and i wish if i can get seeds or find the best way on how to propagate the monterrey oak tree. I will be very greatfull if you can guide me on how to get seeds or more information .I thank you in advance for your generosity, Frank.

    1. Regarding Frankie’s question about propagating Monterey oaks from seed, last November in the New Braunfels (between Austin and San Antonio) park where the Comal River begins, I picked 5 acorns from a Monterey oak. I planted each in a one gallon pot, about two inches deep. All five germinated and are currently about six inches tall. I live in zone 7 and do not know whether they will freeze.

    2. Frank, I am in San Antonio and have had great success propagating Monterey Oaks. Acorns are plentiful this year and now is the time to gather and plant them. I would only add to David’s post with instructions to plant them in place during their first year…protect them from wildlife, if necessary.

  22. Hello. I had a young Monterrey Oak planted by a nursery last year. It’s growing well. But yesterday we noticed that all the leaves have a strange bumpy texture and it looks ODD! Does it have a disease? What can I do? Thank you!

  23. Keith, I have a monterrey oak that is about 7 years old. It is large and provides lots of shade. Last month it lost all it leaves(as usual) and I saw new tiny leaves emerging. Yesterday I was in my back yard and was shocked to see all the tiny leaves were dead. My neighbors have this tree and they are fully leaved now. What has happened and is my tree dead?

  24. Hi Keith, the nursery planted a Monterrey Oak in my back yard. I can see little sprouts but they die. What’s wrong? Nothing grows in my back yard!

  25. I have aphids on my Monterrey Oak, but not the roller aphids. The leaves are turning brown and falling not fall yet.

  26. I have a Monterey oak that is approximately forty feet tall and is 12 years old. Just today I have noticed that a vast majority of the leaves have many browns spots on them. Do you have an idea of the cause of this? Let me know and I will try sending you a picture if necessary.

  27. Keith – I noticed someone asked my question earlier, but it wasn’t quite answered. My Monterrey Oak is four years & going gangbusters. Today, however, I observed at least 200 very small, blackish ants swarming the splits in its lower trunk. Need I worry?

  28. Hello,

    You seem to be THE authority on these trees! We have planted four in the back yard, 2 ten footers and 2 six footers. All seem to be settling in nicely however they have something eating the leaves. Is it the spring oak worms you mentioned? Because it happens year round. Do grasshoppers eat the leaves? And is there any pesticide to use or just keep spraying them down with water?

    Thank you

  29. I have a newly planted 15 gallon Monterrey White oak that been planted in an area that gets direct hot sun from about noon until about 4 pm. I’m worried about over watering it as we just replaced a same sized tree that my landscaper is going to rehabilitate (it’s not dead but mostly brown). This one was planted Friday and the top is starting to brown out. My landscaper recommended only watering the tree every 3 days on a slow flow for 20 mins. I don’t want to over do the watering but understand this is a stressful time of the year to plant trees in Austin with the high temps. Any assistance is appreciated!

  30. We live in Sunset Valley off of Brodie & are replacing a Cedar Elm in a generally sunny area. Considering Bur or Monterrey. Any suggestions?

  31. My Monterey Oak was planted last year and has been doing fine, watering 2-3 times a wk. I recently stopped watering for the winter and because my tree started looking very bad, lost almost all the leaves and the rest turned brown/yellowish with black tips. Pics are attached

  32. I have a Monterrey Oak in my back yard that I planted about 5 or 6 years ago. It was about 6 feet tall when I planted it and now it’s close to 20 feet. Until about 6 to 8 weeks ago it was doing great, full of beautiful green leaves etc. Now it is completely bare and if you bend a branch they snap right off and the wood is completely dry.
    I have no idea what has caused this and would appreciate any information you might have and any ideas if it can be reclaimed.
    Thank You, Ray

  33. My husband and I planted a MO last weekend. The leaves are turning brown and we are not sure what to do if nothing at all. We live in south Austin and there has been a lot of rain since we planted it but also scorching sum . Our soil is also more clay then alkaline and before we planted we had no idea . Could these be factors?

  34. I am looking for a fast growing tree that is disease resistant, gives a great shade canopy and doesn’t drop leaves except once a year or not at all. Can you suggest such trees for Lake Jackson, TX 77566. I’ve looked at the Monterrey Oak online.

  35. I have 2 trees, planted at the same time. One tree in the front yard, one in the back yard. The front tree is thriving. The back tree not so good and was watered a bit less because it was overlooked last summer. They are 2 inches in growth. What can I do to help the back tree to thrive and get fuller with leaves. It is just puny in comparison to the tree in the front yard. Thank you.

  36. I have several of the Monterey oaks that seem to have some type of fungus. They are very large 15 and 20 foot high. I have attached some pictures, can you tell what this may be and is there a systemic way to treat it.

    1. I cannot ID any disease from the photos. It is very possible that there really is no disease that needs to be treated and this is a general stress condition. Overall, the surface area of injured leaf surface is pretty minimal and many of the leaves I can see in the background don’t have any damage. I’d suggest you start sicking your finger in the ground everyday to monitor your watering/soil moisture situation and put the tree on a fertilizer regimen. Watch it closely for the next few months, if it doesn’t get considerably worse, don’t do any treatments. Are the trees getting any shade in the morning or afternoon? What time of year did you plant the trees? How long ago were they planted. Did you root prune any girdling roots at planting time? What is the soil type? What is your watering regimen?

      1. Thanks for the info.
        The smaller tree was planted 31/2 years ago, get some shade from the other tree and house starting around 2pm. The soil is a gumbo type soil(this area was farm land 20 years ago) and tree gets a good soaking every two weeks. We have water restrictions, but have had rain quite often. The larger tree was planted 8 years ago by original owner. Both trees were fertilized early last year in spring with tree spikes.

  37. The third photo on the top row shows what a part of my truck on my tree looks like. What causes it and how do I treat it.

  38. I have a 7 yr. old Monterrey Oak in my back yard and the trunk is starting to bulge out and some of the outside is trying to come off but is still tight. Just looks like it could. I have one the same years old and it is normal. It is bulging about two feet above the ground for about 2 1/2 ft. and then all looks normal. Can you help me with this? Want to know if I should treat the tree.

    Barbara Bell
    New Braunfels, Tx.

  39. Hello,

    My cedar elm tree died in my front lawn and I had to cut it down (dutch elm disease). I had the stump grinded deep into the ground and then covered with topsoil. The elm tree was only about 12” in diameter at its base.

    I plan to plant a Monterey Oak tree in about the same spot (my front lawn is not very big). Are there any rules I need to know about planting over an existing tree? How far do I need to plant the Monterey away from the elm’s stump? How far away from my cement driveway?


  40. I have a Monterrey Oak in the front yard of my home in Pflugerville, TX. We are at a loss for what is taking place on the bark.

    1. The damage was probably caused by physical injury during the transportation/handling process or you could have a borer infestation. I can’t really see much detail of the injury in the photo.

  41. We are in Driftwood, Tx. Our 2 year old approx 5 foot Monterrey Oak took a sudden turn. It seemed fine just last week and now all the leaves have turned brown. Noticed small fungus?? at base of tree. Photos attached. Please let me know what we can do. Thanks so much. I can also be reached at (512) 751-7080.

    1. You photo didn’t come through. Feel free to email me the photos at keith at austintreeexperts dot com. If you already have some trunk decay issues on such a young tree, you may have some pretty serious issues going on; could be girdling roots or borers, or could be a result of damage done to the tree during transporting and handling.

  42. Hi. Needing some advice. We planted a Monterrey oak in May of this year. We have been watering it every other day through summer for about an hour here in San Antonio, TX. The leaves are very light greenish yellow. All pics I have seen of this type of tree have dark green leaves? Wondering what I’m doing wrong. I can’t seem to attach a pic here. Is there an email I can send it to?

    1. You can send photos to Keith at AustinTreeExperts dot com. New foliage emerges as light green and often with red tints. As the foliage matures, it should turn darker green. If the foliage doesn’t develop into darker green within a few months, you may have an issue to look into.

  43. I have a Mexican White Oak that forks into two vertical leads beginning about three feet from the base. The diameter of the trunk is still less than two inches, and each of these leads is about an inch in diameter. They both have lateral branches, but the shortest lead has more of these.
    The two leads fork at an angle of about 15 or 20 degrees, so I’m concerned that developing a crotch like that could set up the tree for weak branch structure.
    Please, do you have any suggestions for how I can shape this tree in a way most beneficial to its health, or is it fine the way it is?

    1. In the long term, you won’t want a branch that comes off the tree at 3′ above ground. However, in the short term you don’t want to be too aggressive about your pruning as the young tree needs branches and foliage to develop properly. The best compromise is to subordinate limbs that will eventually be pruned off. Prune back the tips of these limbs about 12″. It’s not critical that you make a proper pruning cut, you can literally stump off the end of the twig. Remember, in a few years, you are likely going to remove the entire limb anyway. Any limbs you remove all the way back to the trunk will be important that you make a proper pruning cut. Also, be sure not to remove more than about 20% of the foliage during any one pruning for a young tree.

  44. We had two 45 gal Monterey Oaks (Mexican White Oaks) planted in 11/24. Trees have been beautiful until recently. Some of the leaves are “curling” length wise and dropping off. Is this just how this tree does in January? I know that live oaks drop their leaves and new ones come on, and we were told this tree is similar in that respect. Also, we have had plenty of moisture, and also had some freezing rain on the trees recently. Just wondering if 1) the tree curling is the normal process, or 2) other factors like rain/freezing rain/frost is the cause?

  45. I live in Lakeway. I have a Monterrey White Oak that I fear is dying. It was planted in 2007. In May, 2014, it split significantly (lost 40% of the tree) from the storm that did significant damage across the city. I just recently noticed the bark coming off the tree. There are new leaf buds on the tree. I am going to try to attach 4 pictures. Please advise. I can mail you the pictures if you do not get them in this post.

  46. I have a lot of afternoon sun coming into my eating area and back porch… Need desperately some shade, I was recommended The Monterrey Oak, but I used to have an Oak Tree in my yard in New Jersey ( not sure about what kind of Oak), I have my yard messed up 4 times a year (flowers, leaves, acorn and something like hair) Besides every 4 years the acorns were multiplied by 3 – How clean is Monterrey Oaks?

    THX, PAT

  48. I have a monterey oak that is approximately 16 years old and is 14-16 inches in diameter and approximately 40 feet tall. Right now it is experiencing a case of mildew. They do grow relatively quickly and make great shade trees. The leaves fall in February.

  49. Our Monterey Oak appears to be dying and we do not know why. The past two years it has declined in beauty. Can you advise.


  50. When is the best time to get a Monterrey Oak pruned? Also if the limbs have started working on new growth should we wait until later or trim before they put too much energy into that new growth? Thanks!!

  51. We purchased a home wit 4 Monterey Oaks in back yard. One of the trees is dropping leaves. We were told by the person who put them in that this is normal, that they usually drop leaves twice a year. However, the other three trees are not dropping leaves. Is this normal for this type of tree?

  52. I have a young Monterey oak tree recently planted. For the first couple of months we had a lot of rain here in south central Texas. Now we are in late July, and have not had any rain for 3 weeks. I have not watered this tree since, thinking its a drought tolerant. Also because I did read somewhere that it’s best to let it dry out before watering again. I’m concerned because the tree looks like it’s drying! Last night I watered it for 1hour, how often should I be watering it?

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