En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Mystic Spires salvia in transplant shock
July 04, 2008 - Hello. I live in Taylor, Tx. Just outside Austin, Texas. I recently planted mystic spires. One gallons and will receive the hot afternoon sun. All the research says they can tolerate this location. Th...
view the full question and answer

Native species of tree for Rockwall TX
March 19, 2014 - Hello, I am attempting to plant a native species of tree 20 miles east of Dallas, Texas (Rockwall, TX) in honor of my brother's marriage. He is a biologist and a huge supporter of native species....
view the full question and answer

Transplanting birdwing passionflower in Canyon, TX
April 17, 2009 - First, thank you for all your help! Second, I have two bird-wing passionflowers that are growing next to the house. I'd like to move them because this is the area where I want to put in some raise...
view the full question and answer

Problems with propagation of Indian Paintbrush (Castileja indivisa)
February 07, 2006 - We are growing Indian Paintbrush. I have 2-300 seedlings. They were sown with fescue and have grown beautifully. Now they are approximately 4-6 inches high, a few have bloomed and many seem to be dy...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center