Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
8 ratings

Saturday - April 05, 2008

From: Opa Locka, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Removal of leaves before transplanting
Answered by:

QUESTION:

Before transplanting a plant, is it a good idea to remove leaves?

ANSWER:

No, you don't ever remove all the leaves, unless they're dead. The leaves on any plant are their manufacturing plants, making the food on which the plant lives. What you are probably thinking of is pruning back some of the branches on the plant when it is transplanted. If you had to cut or prune back some of the roots to get it out of the ground or the pot it had been growing in, then you will need to prune it a little more. Most plants will do better if they are pruned back about a third when they are transplanted. The important thing is to keep the liquids flowing through that plant. Don't leave it out of the pot or out of the ground a minute longer than you have to. Try to work early in the morning or late in the evening when the drying effects of the sun won't be quite so severe. Get the plant in the hole, get the dirt back around it, and then push a hose nozzle down into the soft soil. Turn the water on just a tiny drip and let it run until you can see the water. Turn it off, let it soak and settle, and then run some more water in the same way. A new plant, especially trees and shrubs, will need this kind of watering every couple of days until they have gotten settled in. All this is to prevent transplant shock. A newly transplanted plant can simply shrivel and die if there has been too much damage done to the roots or if too much top growth was left for the roots to get water to.

Here is a good article from The Gardener's Network on Transplanting Bushes, Shrubs and Trees.

 

More Propagation Questions

Assuring berries on Viburnum dentatum
October 27, 2008 - I just purchased 2 blue muffin viburnum bushes-I live in Kansas-How many years will it be before they get berries? They are full size(3-4 ft) Do I need to trim them down for winter or just mulch the...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Is slow growth of young Tx mountain laurel normal?
July 02, 2012 - My Texas mountain laurel is 2 or 3 years old and is about 4 feet tall. It seems quite healthy but has grown very little, if any, and has never bloomed. Is this normal? Although I don't want it to gro...
view the full question and answer

Practicality of growing bluebonnets in Germany
July 28, 2006 - I am originally from Texas, but I am living in Washington and moving to Germany for the military. I desperately miss bluebonnets and my husband picked up a big bag for me as a present and have no ide...
view the full question and answer

Source of Berlandiera pumila seeds from Coral Gables FL
June 07, 2012 - Where can I buy plants or seeds of Berlandiera pumila?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.