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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 15, 2008

From: Sachse, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Watering, Trees
Title: Proper watering of cedar elm trees in Sachse, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I've just planted two Cedar elm trees in clay soil, each about four inches in diameter, and I want to water them correctly. I'm aware that too much water can be bad as well as too little water. I don't want to endanger the trees because of improper watering.

ANSWER:

We would have preferred that you plant the Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) in late Fall or early Winter, when the plant was dormant, and the heat was not so intense. However, now that you have it in the ground, it is going to need some tender loving care to keep it going. Sachse, in north central Texas, may not have had quite as extreme a drought and heat wave as Central Texas has, but close. Newly planted trees will almost surely have had some root damage, if not actually having had some root pruning, before they go into their permanent location. Clay soil is all right for the Cedar elm, but you do have to be careful not to overwater it and drown the roots. Hopefully, you amended the soil with some compost or other organic materials to loosen the dirt and improve the texture. Whether you did that or not, do mulch with an shredded hardwood mulch. This will protect the roots from the heat, and help to keep moisture in the ground. Also, as it decomposes, the mulching material will continue to add more organic material around the tree roots. Now, stick a hose down into the dirt around the roots, and water it with a very slow dribble until water appears on the surface. Then, watch and see how long the water takes to disappear. If it takes a half hour or more, the soil is not draining well at all. If it is draining normally, you can give the tree its drink of water every other day. If water does appear to be standing in the hole, give it less water but every day. This should go on until the weather cools and/or we get some rainfall. Keep a close eye on your tree, as it is susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease.This website gives comprehensive instructions for identifying and dealing with this very destructive disease.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

More Watering Questions

Transplant shock in desert willow in Austin
November 09, 2011 - We planted a desert willow 5 days ago. It came in a 15-gallon pot but the tree is quite large (~10 ft) with a wide spread. We watered thoroughly during planting but have not watered since (light rai...
view the full question and answer

Wintering Purple Coneflowers in pots in Springfield MO
August 26, 2013 - I have some 8 month old purple cone flowers in containers on my porch. They did not bloom this summer because they were seedlings when given to me. I can not put them in the ground. How can I keep the...
view the full question and answer

Why did mountain laurel turn brown and die?
July 20, 2011 - I have (had) a lovely mountain laurel that I planted more than 25 years ago. Many times one or two branches would turn brown and I would trim them out. The shrub is about 10 feet tall and is many tr...
view the full question and answer

Problems with tomatoes in tubs in Campbellton, TX
May 30, 2009 - I have my tomatoes planted in big black plastic tubs, they are starting to wilt and dry up. I have put Sevin dust on them for bugs. I haven't been over watering. Could you please tell me why they are...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
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