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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: Argenta, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Vines
Title: Transplanting honeysuckle bush in Illinois
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Want to transplant 3 honeysuckle shrubs 10 to 12' tall this month, although not the best time. Please advise.

ANSWER:

We found one plant, Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), that is native to Illinois, but is described as a mound-shaped deciduous shrub to three feet tall. We found two others, Lonicera morrowii and Lonicera mackii that are taller, but are considered invasive. Hope you have unusually tall native bushes and not the non-native invasives.

It really doesn't matter, what you are transplanting are woody plants. This is not such a bad time to transplant in Illinois, because it's still pretty cool there. It's getting a little late for transplanting in Texas, but you should still be fine. 

First, prepare the hole you are going to transplant into. Do not dig up the shrub until you have completed the preparation of the hole; you don't want the roots to dry out. We recommend choosing a good spot and digging a hole bigger than you think you will need.  Mix some compost or other organic material with the native dirt. This will help to make nutrients available to the roots and keep them from standing in water, as the amended dirt will have better drainage. As these bushes are pretty big, we would recommend you trim them down quite a bit in order to handle them. They should still be semi-dormant there, and it will certainly help you when you move them.

This About.com:Landscape article on Transplanting Trees and Shrubs gives good instructions for deciding on rootball size, cutting through roots that are beyond what you can manage, and transportation to the prepared hole. Because the shrub is probably  not much out of dormancy, it should be able to withstand this without too much damage. Once you have returned the amended soil to the hole and your shrub is either supporting itself or staked upright, stick a hose in the soil and let water drip in slowly until water stands on the surface. If there is regular rainfall, you shouldn't have to repeat this more than twice a week or so. 

If the shrub begins to show signs of stress, like wilting or loss of leaves, you may need to trim off about 1/4 to 1/3 more of the foliage to compensate for the root loss below the ground. This is transplant shock and is not uncommon when a woody plant is being transplanted. Keep up with the deep watering, meanwhile making sure that the roots are not standing in water, that the hole is draining well. Don't fertilize-any plant in the process of transplanting is stressed, and you should never fertilize a plant in stress.

Pictures of non-native Lonicera maakii

Pictures of non-native Lonicera marrowii


Diervilla lonicera

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Lawn Maintenance in Colorado
March 20, 2010 - When do I begin to fertilize and water my grass in Colorado Springs? I am selling my house and want my lawn to look green?
view the full question and answer

Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
March 26, 2009 - We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Death of mature Eve's necklace in Fredericksburg, TX
July 12, 2010 - A friend mentioned his mature Eve's necklace had died this year. The next day I walked past my own mature Eve's necklace(about 5 years old)and it was dead! What could have happened? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

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