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

Wednesday - August 12, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting Sideroxylon lanuginosum in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a tall (30-40 ft) Sideroxylon lanuginosum in my backyard. Last fall hundreds of saplings popped up in my yard following runners from the tall tree. I would like to keep a few of these saplings to form a wildlife thicket in the back corner of my yard. Can sections of the runners with multiple saplings be transplanted to desired locations?

ANSWER:

There seem to be two or three subspecies of this tree, Sideroxylon lanuginosum (gum bully), native to North America, but this one is the only one native to Texas, and is found in the Austin area. We looked and looked, trying to find propagation techniques and all sources agreed that it is propagated by seed.

If we correctly understand your question, you want to cut out a strip of root from which adventitious shoots or suckers have emerged and transplant to another part of your garden. Frankly, although we could not substantiate it one way or another, we don't think this would work. The root of the parent tree is also the root of those suckers. If you separate that root from the tree, the sprouts lose their source of nutrition and have no rootlets to acquire moisture from the soil. This tree has sharp thorns and not a great deal of landscape value, except as a barrier plant. If you do not keep the shoots trimmed down, the parent tree will form a thicket all by itself, but moving the thicket strikes us as pretty impractical. 

Since you have the raw material, there is no reason why you couldn't experiment, digging down to look for a rooted shoot and attempt to transplant it. We wouldn't recommend doing so right now, in our hottest and driest year in decades. Transplanting of woody plants by any means is best done in late Fall in our climate. Root suckers often don't have enough of a root system to support themselves. You can try to encourage development of an independent root system by cutting partway through the connection with the mother tree some weeks prior to transplanting.


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 

 

More Transplants Questions

My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
March 13, 2009 - My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?
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

Madrone too close to house in Oregon
February 02, 2009 - I have a small Madrone tree (8ft tall) located approximatly 15 feet from my house, with a basement. Should I remove it? ie will it damage the foundation and is the tree strong enough that it will no...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Virginia creeper
September 02, 2008 - I have a large Virginia creeper plant approximately 15 feet in length. Is it possible to transplant the whole thing without killing it? If so how do I care for it after it has been moved? Thank yo...
view the full question and answer

Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
August 16, 2009 - Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
view the full question and answer

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