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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - July 31, 2014

From: Baton Rouge, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shrubs and irrigation system.

ANSWER:

Ilex x attenuata Ashe (Savannah or topal holly) is hybrid of Ilex cassine (Dahoon) and Ilex opaca (American holly) and, as such, doesn't appear in our Native Plant Database; however, since it is a hybrid of two native species the USDA Plants Database does list it as native.

Several sites that I visited says that the roots are fibrous and great in number and relatively small in diameter.  This leads me to believe that it doesn't have a long tap root, but you still need to go deep enough to get a good mass of roots.  Here is information about planting and transplanting from TreesUSA and here is information about transplanting another hybrid holly bush from Donnan.com.  Their very good advice suggests root pruning it in the fall and then moving it in the spring.  Transplanting a shrub or tree in the summer is  very likely to put it into transplant shock and could even kill it.

 

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