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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.

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Wednesday - March 10, 2010

From: Floresville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: How to transplant agarita in Floresville, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How is the best way to propagate Agarita? I have acres of them in the pasture but want some for the house landscape and to grow. I was told they go dormant for a year if you dig them up to transplant.

ANSWER:

We're tempted to advise you to put in a section of barbed wire fence where you want the agarita to grow and let the birds do their thing.  But we won't.  Besides being inconvenient, you'd have to pull out a lot of privet and hackberry seedlings if you did that.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) is usually difficult to transplant; large plants are especially difficult.  A big part of the problem is that they are often growing in such rocky soil that it is very hard to get the plant out without severely damaging the roots of the plant.  The smaller the root ball, the slower the plant will recover from the stress of transplantation.

If possible, dig around the shrub you wish to transplant in the spring to cut some of the roots.  By fall, the plant will have made new roots within the area that you'll be digging up to transplant.  Dig and translplant the agarita in mid to late fall.  Remove about 1/3 of the top growth of the plant when you transplant.  Water it in well and water again from time to time through the winter if it's a dry year.  Even with all of that, your plant is likely to sit and do nothing much for a year or two.  Good luck!

 

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