En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - July 01, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Planting from pots in summer in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

It's the last week in June and temperatures are going to be at 100 or more all week. I've some plants that I'm wondering about transplanting to an exposed site in this heat: muhlenbergeria lindheimeriana (one gallon)and cassia lindheimeriana (4 in"), and several 4" pots of Mexican wire grass. Should I wait for a break (back down into the 90s?)or a few cloudy days? Once they have a couple days break, they will still have to contend with months more of sun, heat and water from the hose. I remembering reading or hearing that, beyond the problems of heat stress, too much moisture in this heat can be detrimental to unestablished plants that normally take a lot of heat in dry weather. In order to establish these plants, I'll be watering in the evenings. Do I have any options, or do I wait until mid September?

ANSWER:

We feel your pain, we garden in Austin, too. Our first impulse was to say: One word - WAIT! Then, we looked at your question more closely and realized you were not talking about moving plants from one garden spot (in the dirt) to another; you had the plants still in (probably) black plastic nursery containers. We hope you are keeping them in shaded conditions and watering regularly because, if not, the roots are probably already fried. Our suggestion is that you slather some mosquito repellant on yourself and plant those in the evening, after the sun has gone down. Make sure the soil is already prepared for good drainage and easy adaptation by the roots. Working some compost into the soil before you ever put the plant in there is a very good idea. This will help with drainage, make trace elements available to the plant roots and, in general, be gentle with those roots. On your evening planting expedition, get the plants into the soil as quickly as possible, and then water very gently by sticking a hose deep down in that nice compost and letting it dribble very slowly. If there is still daylight, or the next morning, cover the root areas with a good quality shredded hardwood mulch. This will keep the sun off those baby roots, cool the ground, and help to hold in moisture. Continue to water very gently (no overhead) every other morning or so (to help prevent mildew) and don't fertilize. Any plant being transplanted right now is a plant in stress, and stressed plants don't need fertilizer.


Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Senna lindheimeriana

Nassella tenuissima

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Problems with Texas Ash and non-native Bradford Pear in Hutto TX
January 27, 2011 - We have planted two trees in our back yard. The first one(a Bradford Pear) died and the second one (a Texas ash) doesn't look like it's doing very well. Our back yard is mostly black clay about 1 f...
view the full question and answer

Cardboard or newsprint for mulch from Cedar Park TX
June 09, 2012 - What is your opinion on using cardboard and/or newspaper for mulch in flower beds or around trees?
view the full question and answer

Native water plants for bio-retention pond in North Carolina
July 22, 2009 - I am looking for North Carolina native plants that can take part shade and very wet conditions (bioretention pond environment). Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Planting a tulip poplar in Virginia Beach VA
November 10, 2009 - Hi. I would like to plant a Yellow Poplar, 'Tulip Tree' in my front yard. I will not be able to plant this tree until after November 15th. The tree will receive direct sun and will be exposed to hea...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming climbing rose in Conroe, TX
October 09, 2009 - I have a climbing rose and it has never bloomed and has no thorns, it was a cutting from another rose bush. I have given it water and fertilize and have mulch around it also.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center