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
3 ratings

Tuesday - November 06, 2007

From: Sunnyvale, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I'm afraid it will rot the base of the trunk. Can I dig up the tree, then very quickly have someone push dirt in the hole and then put the tree right back down in the earth without hurting the tree?

ANSWER:

There are two species of Maytenus, the mayten tree, that occur in the continental United States and only one of those, Maytenus phyllanthoides, is native.

The species that generally occurs in California, Maytenus boaria, is not native to North America and I am supposing that this is the one that you have. Although our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is on plants native to North America, we are happy to point you to advice on non-native plants if we can. Here is some information about care of the mayten tree from the the San Francisco group, Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF). The care instructions from FUF does indicate that the tree needs good drainage. Another urban forest group, Canopy, based in Palo Alto, California, lists "collar, foot and crown rots" as problems for the mayten tree which certainly could occur from not having good drainage. So, definitely, you need to remedy your "bowl" situation. If you can remedy the situation by cutting down the edges of the bowl without disturbing the roots of the tree, that would seem the least disturbing situation for the tree. If, of course, that exposes tree roots, then you may have to resort to digging up the tree and filling in the hole a bit. Here is some general advice about transplanting trees from the University of California Cooperative Extension.

 

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting trilliums
April 28, 2010 - What's the best time to transplant white trillium on my property on the shore of Lake Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Texas natives garden
August 20, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I thought that my new Texas Natives garden was recuperating from ALL the rain. But, suddenly, my Texas Red Bud and the Eve's Necklace next to it have MANY yellow leaves. Is the...
view the full question and answer

Root rot and transplant shock in Texas betony
July 13, 2006 - Texas betony is supposed to be drought resistant but also likes to be kept moist, but I have had trouble getting it established. These seem to be undemanding plants I have had entire stems dry up and...
view the full question and answer

Caring for Texas Buckeye in Buda TX
February 07, 2011 - I have a Texas Buckeye that is planted in a moderate amount of shade. It is growing very slowly, and only holds on to it's leaves from late March to August. It has been in the ground for about 4-5 ye...
view the full question and answer

Starting wild plant seeds indoors from Dallas TX
February 23, 2014 - Is it possible to start some Phlox drummondii or other native wild flower from seed indoors, and then transplant to my garden? If so, can you suggest some?
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