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Thursday - January 01, 2009

From: Walker, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Trees
Title: Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?

ANSWER:

Now is good. Woody plants like Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) are semi-dormant in cooler weather, and thus less likely to be harmed by damage to the root or trunk. However, for best results, some care should be taken to preserve as much of the root as possible, and to prepare a spot for it before you start digging up the plant. Fortunately, the yaupon will tolerate a lot of different soils, is drought resistant but also can stand damp soil. It can take part shade, but will be denser and have more berries if it gets more than a half day of sun. 

So, first, choose the spot you are going to put the shrub. Then, dig out a pretty good-sized hole, bigger than you are planning for the rootball. Mix the dirt from the hole with compost or other organic material, which will add nutrients to the dirt and make drainage better, and in turn will help make trace minerals beneficial to the plant available to the roots. Two or three days before you are planning to do the transplant, water the shrub deeply, to give the roots a chance to fill up and have some reserves. When you are ready to take the shrub out, bring as big a rootball as you can handle with it, digging around in a circle to establish the rootball size, and then getting a shovel under it to lever it out. Don't let it dry out! That is why you prepared a hole earlier; so the yaupon wouldn't have to wait, with roots drying, while the destination hole was dug. Put the roots into the new hole in such a way as to have the soil surface on the rootball at the same level as the surrounding ground. While someone holds the shrub in the proper, upright position, shovel in your amended dirt around it, not heaping it up higher on the trunk that it was before. Don't tamp the dirt down, you want air and water to be able to move freely through the soil. If it doesn't want to stand up on its own, you may need to stake it for a few months-you don't want a leaning yaupon. Now, stick a hose down into the dirt around the rootball, and let it dribble very slowly until water appears on the surface. If the soil settles some, you can add some more of your amended dirt to keep the surface level the same. 

In the winter, you probably won't need to water it more than once every few days, if you're not getting regular rainfall, but water deeply and slowly as you did when you planted it. If some of the upper leaves begin to show signs of damage, browning or dropping off, it may be suffering from transplant shock, in spite of your best efforts. Trim off about the upper 1/4 of the growth on the plant, and keep an eye on it. The yaupon is a tough, adaptable, native plant and should be just fine. 

 

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