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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 18, 2009

From: Florissant, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting aspens and Colorado blue spruce trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please help me with info on transplanting aspen and blue spruce trees in Colorado. I live at 8600ft and have tons of deer. thx

ANSWER:

Colorado State Extension Service has an excellent article, Transplanting trees & shrubs, that recommends transplanting small trees and shrubs in the spring as soon as you can easily dig the soil.  The article also tells you how to go about digging up the tree in preparation for moving it to its new site.  They also have an article, Planting trees & shrubs, that has additional useful information for Colorado residents and a more extensive article, The Science of Planting Trees, that should also be helpful for your project.

It is best to collect Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) for transplantation before they leaf out. You should realize that aspens growing close together are essentially a clone sharing the same root system so you will have to sever the roots between trees to dig up a single tree.  You should try to get trees from a soil type and elevation that match the site to which you are transplanting them.  Utah State University Extension Service says that success for transplanting aspens is 'fair to good'.

Picea pungens (blue spruce), the State Tree of Colorado, is reportedly relatively easily transplanted.  According to Watson and Sydnor [Watson, Gary W., and T. Davis Sydnor. 1987. The effect of root pruning on the root system of nursery trees. Journal of Arboriculture 13(5):126-130] rooting pruning young blue spruce trees five years before transplanting them essentially doubles the root surface in the root ball so that the trees have a better chance of surviving the transplant.  You probably don't want to wait for 5 years to do your transplanting, but even one year's or a few months' wait after root pruning would increase the root surface by producing new small roots at the cut ends.

For both trees, when transplanting you should consider adding root stimulator.  You can read more advice about tree planting and how to apply root stimulator from Precision Tree Care, Inc.

Your Colorado blue spruces should be fine with all the deer since they are listed in the book, Solving Deer Problems, by H.Peter Loewer, 2002, as being on the 'deer-dislike' list.  However, you might not be so lucky with your aspens since they are in the 'Often Browsed' column in Table 1. Plants and their relative susceptibility to deer browsing in Colorado State University Extension Service's article,"Preventing Deer Damage", by C. E. Swift and M. K. Gross.  There are other suggestions, however, in this article for preventing deer damage.


Picea pungens

Populus tremuloides

 

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Transplant shock in Texas Star hibiscus
July 31, 2008 - Why is my Texas star plant wilting and now is starting to turn yellow? I just bought it from a nursery and put it in a new pot.
view the full question and answer

My newly planted Redbuds are not doing well.
June 24, 2009 - I ordered and received 2 Red Bud trees from one of the popular ordering houses. They explained that they were dormant and not dead, and gave us instructions on how to plant them, which we followed. Th...
view the full question and answer

Flaming sumacs in trouble in Wimberley TX
August 31, 2010 - I planted three flaming sumacs last fall and all leafed out this spring. Then, early this month all the leaves turned brown on one and it appears to have died. Today I noticed that a second one is d...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Silverado Sage in Pearland, TX.
July 28, 2012 - Hi, We have three Silverado Sage bushes we planted last year. They did great during the drought. However, this winter they had a severed leaf drop of mostly just the centers of them. These cente...
view the full question and answer

Tall Evergreens for Pennsylvania
January 06, 2011 - I want to plant tall evergreen trees that grow really tall in deep shade or that I can plant already fairly large and withstand the shock of planting in a mature state and live in deep shade. I thank ...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center