En Español

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

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 Trees Questions

Can hazelnut trees grow in South Florida?
January 30, 2010 - Can Hazelnut trees grow in South Florida?
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling early from red oaks.
October 08, 2007 - The leaves on my Texas red oaks are dropping off prematurely. This usually doesn't happen until late November/early December. I'm wondering if it has something to do with our wet summer, or if I sho...
view the full question and answer

Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
April 14, 2009 - Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center