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 - January 12, 2010

From: Elkton , MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting Hollies in winter
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I want to transplant, relocate holly trees in January. Is that ok, and what is the best holly for landscaping?

ANSWER:

There is a saying in your part of the country that you can plant (or transplant)  trees in any month that has the letter "r" in it's name.  So January should be fine ... but aren't you buried in snow right now?

Fall is actually the best time to plant trees.  The warm soil and cool air give the plant a chance to regenerate roots while the transpirational demands on the leaves are not too great.  Winter dormancy then gives the tree a chance to get ready for the next growing season.  Early spring is the next best ... again the tree has a chance to establish before meeting the demands of summer.

That being said, as long as the soil is workable, you can plant or transplant a tree.  If the ground is not frozen and you take a handful of soil, and cannot squeeze water out of it, it is workable. So you will have to make the decision of whether it is ok in your garden, this January, or not.

You do not mention what type of holly "trees" you are hoping to move or how large they are. I suspect that since you refer to them as trees you are referring to Ilex opaca (American holly) which is evergreen and the plant most people think of when they use the term holly.  I would advise against transplanting an evergreen at this time of year as, if the weather gets cold later in the winter when the sun is stronger, the roots will not be able to provide enough water to the leaves and they will suffer from winter burn.  Also, the larger the tree, the greater the chance that it will not survive being transplanted.

There are other hollies that are native to your area which are great landscape plants. They are shrubs and very attractive for natural areas.  Remember that all hollies are dioecious, which means that the male and female flower parts occur on two different plants, so if you want berries (on the female plants only) you must have a male plant (which will flower but not produce berries) within the flight distance of a pollinator.

We recommend:

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry) (which is deciduous and particularly attrtactive after its leaves have fallen)


Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca

Ilex glabra

Ilex glabra

Ilex verticillata

Ilex verticillata
 

More Trees Questions

Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX
March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa...
view the full question and answer

care of Red Oak seedling; Quercus buckleyi
October 30, 2007 - We purchased one of the Red Oaks seedlings for sale to members from the LBJ Ranch ($45). Now that we have it at home we are wondering about the care and feeding. We failed to ask any questions or pi...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Live oak sprouts in Austin
August 01, 2010 - How can I control the hundreds of live oak sprouts our lovely trees are throwing off? We recently landscaped with rain gardens and the related drainage ditches; they are filled with these very happy ...
view the full question and answer

Protecting storm-damaged pecan and black walnut trees in TX
June 29, 2015 - Several trees on our property in northeast Texas were uprooted by a tornado. A pecan tree with a circumference greater than 93 inches was carried to the ground. Although it is completely horizontal,...
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