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
1 rating

Monday - July 21, 2008

From: Spicewood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Transplanting non-native invasive chinaberry trees
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I know most folk think Chinaberry trees are only for digging up, but I say that here in the Hill Country during a drought, they are the greenest and purtiest tree around. I have some tall fifteen footers that I'd like to transplant to give some much needed shade. Does anyone have a suggestion.

ANSWER:

We're afraid we agree with others that Chinaberry trees are good things not to have, but you're entitled to grow what you please on your own property. Unfortunately, it is an invasive tree that can easily move from your property to other places, where it may not be as welcome. Melia azedarach is a deciduous tree in the mahogany family native to India, southern China and Australia. The fruits are poisonous to humans, although some birds are able to eat the fruit and spread the seeds in their droppings. See this Plant Conservation Alliance website Least Wanted - Chinaberry.

Now, as to your question on transplanting the trees, if you really want to do that. This article from About.com on How to Transplant pretty well covers all the bases. In particular, you need to know that now is NOT the right time to transplant, need for shade or not. Transplanting a tree is a great enough shock as it is, without subjecting it also to being moved during a very hot drouth. If you are planning to transplant in the late Winter, probably the best time in West Texas, note the instructions in the referenced article on root pruning to prepare the tree for being moved. Most recommendations we've seen for root pruning say to do it after the leaves drop in the Fall.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native, non-invasive Thunbergia alata
March 30, 2006 - I'm trying to find the proper name for Climbing Blackeyed Susan, or Blackeyed Susan Vine. We had one on a trellis and it was beautiful, but I'm told that it is an undesirable weed. Any info apprec...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pistacio problem Rockwall, TX.
July 02, 2014 - I have an eight year old Pistacio tree that has leaves turning brown and falling off. It is June! Why?
view the full question and answer

Problems on mock orange plant in England
August 20, 2008 - I have a small mock orange plant that is about 3 years old. It is currently in a 12 inch plant pot in full sun. It bloomed beautifully this year but the leaves on both the new and old growth are start...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native navel orange
October 03, 2008 - Hello Green Guru, Question: Why hasn't Navel Orange Tree grown or sprouted new branches? It's 3 years old and is about 5 feet tall and has remained this size. It hasn't grown at all. It only ha...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native avocado outside from Austin
December 27, 2012 - My son has a very large avocado tree that he rooted from a pit that is currently growing in a large container. However, it has gotten too big to winter inside. Can it be planted in the ground in Aust...
view the full question and answer

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