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

Century plant offshoots in Denver
January 01, 2009 - Each year I get a small "baby" Century Plants in the early winter..December - January, But it dies off before summer. We live in Denver, CO My main plant is doing fine. Also, should I cut the lo...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in Boerne TX
August 29, 2012 - Hi there, My question is when is it safe to transplant a native tree? I have a redbud tree come up in m flower bed I want to try to transplant it instead of cutting it out. It is very young - maybe 4-...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting non-native crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ
May 11, 2014 - When is the best time to transplant dwarf crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting sparkleberry trees in Southport NC
July 07, 2009 - I am interested in transplanting some sparkleberry trees to my yard. It is on the Cape Fear River and it would have full sun for a large part of the day. When would be a good time to transplant the ...
view the full question and answer

Why is my recently planted Esperanza doing poorly in Texas City, TX?
May 28, 2010 - I have an Esperanza I planted about 2 months ago. It has been doing well, except today all but one stem of the plant is wilting and the leaves are rolling. I see no bugs on the plant. Any idea what...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center