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

Transplanting a redbud in Virginia Beach VA
April 21, 2010 - I have a 5-6 ft. Redbud Tree and like to dig up and move to different spot in my backyard. How/what is the proper way to do it without killing the tree?
view the full question and answer

Transplanted crabapple tree problems in Alberta
June 18, 2009 - We transplanted a crabapple tree a couple of weeks ago. There was an abundance of clay in the soil where it was re-planted and even with all the watering, it isn't doing well. Any suggestions on how ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of desert willow in Wimberley TX
August 10, 2010 - I have a desert willow. It is always, whether I water it or leave it alone, yellow/ brown leaves, dark spots on the leaves, losing leaves. now it looks sad and not very healthy. Can you please tell m...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting blue agave pups in Arizona
February 03, 2009 - I have a blue Agave with lots of pups, how do I transplant a few pups into planters. What kind of soil and how much water will they need?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in desert willow in Austin
November 09, 2011 - We planted a desert willow 5 days ago. It came in a 15-gallon pot but the tree is quite large (~10 ft) with a wide spread. We watered thoroughly during planting but have not watered since (light rai...
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