En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - March 30, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting large trees in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello, I'm new to Austin and live in Circle C Subdivision off of Hwy 45 and Spruce Canyon. We would like to plant a couple of trees that will provide shade. I've read your Q&As but would like additional info. What is the largest size tree I can plant that has a large chance of survival? I'm getting conflicting information from different vendors not to mention how expensive mature trees are. Thank you!

ANSWER:

There is no upper limit to the size of tree that can be successfully transplanted. Cost will usually be the limiting factor for transplanting large trees. Large trees are traditionally measured in a unit called DBH, or Diameter at Breast Height where "diameter" (also referred to as "caliper") is measured in inches and "breast height" is universally defined as 54" above ground-level. The cost of a large tree will increase by roughly a factor of ten with each 1" increase in trunk caliper. However, other considerations may come into play in costing a transplanted tree: canopy spread, soil conditions at
both the dig-site and at the transplant-site, distance of travel, tree species, etc.

Keeping a newly transplanted tree alive can be tricky and even the best care may not result in success. Often, the act of digging and transporting, especially during hot, dry weather, stress the transplanted tree to the point that it cannot recover. Root and trunk wounds created during the transplanting process may create entry-points for disease pathogens which can kill or seriously damage a tree over time. Finally, the planting site itself may be inappropriate for the transplanted tree where, soil, shade, and water conditions are not compatible with the tree.

The single best decision a homeowner can make in going through this process is to choose a very experienced and highly-reputable tree company. They should work with a certified ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) professional in selecting the appropriate species for their landscape and in selecting the specific tree to be transplanted. The homeowner should follow their arborist's recommendations to the letter in caring for their tree, especially during the first two years after transplanting.

Finally, here is an excellent article, Newly Planted Trees, from Clemson Extension, the South Carolina Forestry Commission, and the U. S. Forest Service that you might find useful.

 

More Trees Questions

Trees for barrier fence near swimming pool in West Virginia
March 10, 2010 - Near swimming pool, barrier fence needs to replace pine trees. Prefer blooming perennial at least 12' high,low sun exposure, minimal pruning.
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees with rusty spots and holes on tree trunks
September 21, 2011 - I have live oak trees that have developed rusty spots, small holes on the tree trunks and sawdust on the trees base. They were planted in Oct 2010. We have had a hot dry summer in Texas this year an...
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

Juniperus virginiana and some pines for Florida
July 11, 2007 - I live in Pensacola, FL (Northwest Florida, practically lower-coastal Alabama) and I am looking for a medium size tree that will cast shade on my home. The house faces due west and it gets extremely h...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center