En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Transplanting large trees in Austin, TX

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

Native trees safe for cattle in Waller TX
October 27, 2009 - I have a ranch where the pastures have no trees. Can you recommend native species which as safe for cattle and relatively maintenance free?
view the full question and answer

Disease and soil disturbance effects on Pacific madrone
April 02, 2007 - I have a couple acres, here in Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills. My property has many, many trees - quite a few are the beautiful (yet messy!) Arbutus menziesii, or Pacific Madrone. Some ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Texas Mountain Laurel in Pennsylvania
May 20, 2012 - Can I grow a Texas Mt. Laurel in Lancaster, PA?
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
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