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

Wednesday - April 21, 2010

From: Virginia Beach, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting a redbud in Virginia Beach VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

Ordinarily, our first recommendation is to do that in the late Fall or Winter, when the tree is semi-dormant. Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is native to your area at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, according to our Plants of Chesapeake Bay list in our Special Collections section.   In Austin, Central Texas, USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, our redbuds have already bloomed, leafed out and are beginning to show some seed pods. In Fairfax County, you are in Zone 7a to 8, very near ours, and we would hate for the tree to be moved while it is in bloom, because almost certainly you would lose the blooms. No matter how carefully you do so, it is always a shock to move a tree, and we believe it would be preferable to wait until Fall to do so. However, if there is some compelling reason, such as construction in the area where the tree is now, then the sooner you get it moved, the better. The research we have seen indicates that a young tree can be successfully transplanted in Spring or Fall. 

For more information on the tree itself, read this USDA Forest Service article on Eastern Redbud. Some more specific instructions are found in this eHow website How to Grow a Redbud Tree. Even with your best efforts and planting it in the cooler Spring, you may still have some leaf loss. This is transplant shock, and if it begins to bother you, trim off about 1/4 of the crown. Mostly what that tree will be doing this year is getting its roots back into working order. Don't fertilize! In the first place, fertilizer is to encourage new growth, which the roots don't have the time or energy for at first. In the second place, fertilizer can actually shock those little new rootlets that are trying to get going in the new soil and access nutrients from the soil. Trimming off some of those upper stems and leaves reduces the transpiration, or loss of water, that the roots must supply. Don't trim off too many leaves, though, they are needed for photosynthesis to provide nutrition to the whole tree.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

More Transplants Questions

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Turks cap not blooming in Austin
June 03, 2008 - Why is my Turks Cap not blooming? It gets about an hour of sun in the morning, then shade for the rest of the day. It gets watered with the sprinkler system that waters our lawn.
view the full question and answer

Soaptree yucca falling over in Mesa AZ
July 24, 2013 - My soaptree yucca is about 5 ft tall and has fallen over. Does this plant require staking for I thought not, or is something else going on with it?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting aspens and Colorado blue spruce trees
August 18, 2009 - Please help me with info on transplanting aspen and blue spruce trees in Colorado. I live at 8600ft and have tons of deer. thx
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