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 - 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 Transplants Questions

Winter care for plants in Austin
December 05, 2008 - Hello, I'm just getting into the gardening thing, and have planted tons of plants this fall here in Austin. I'm a bit worried about them with winter right around the corner. My first question is r...
view the full question and answer

B1 for transplant shock in non-native bamboo?
January 24, 2009 - I am wondering about the details as I wish to transplant some bamboo. I do not know the actual variety, as I have at least 2 types, but will take a cutting to a high end nursery.Some of this is about ...
view the full question and answer

Care for large trumpet vine in Hugo MN
June 09, 2010 - I was recently given a large Trumpet vine that has been growing in the same place for the last 25 years.I have replanted it and given it a large trellis to grow on.I live in central Minnesota. My ques...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a blue spruce from Pingee Grove IL
August 30, 2012 - Transplant 18" Blue spruce from 5 gal. bucket to ground.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Miscanthus sinensis grass in Lewes DE
May 11, 2010 - I have morning light ornamental grass, which was just three days ago. The ends of the grass are shriveling up and appear to be dying; why is this?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center