Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Thursday - May 20, 2010

From: Allen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Why doesn't my Possum Haw have berries this year?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

A possumhaw holly has no berries as of mid-May. I planted this possumhaw last summer - it had lots of berries. Why would it have no berries this year? This spring I have two yaupons with lots of berries, 6 carissa hollies, and 6 dwarf yaupons all within 100 feet of the possumhaw. The possumhaw lost many of its leaves and all of its berries last summer shortly after planting due to sunburn and too little water. It appears healthy now with a full set of leaves and new growth.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that you and your possumhaw are experiencing transplant shock. This is common in many plants when the come from their nice cozy pot, and are placed in a hole in the yard. The first order of business for the plant is to get a root system established in order to support the leaves on the upper portions of the plant. You made the job harder by planting in the summer and not adequately watering the plant. The leaves and berries didn't have sufficient water, and fell off. The plant probably didn't flower this year, but the showing of leaves is an encouraging sign that the plant is recovering. However, you still have a stressed plant in your yard. It is important that the plant receive adequate water, but no fertiliser this year.

I've included two websites that thoroughly cover tree planting and transplant shock: one is from the University of Kentucky  (scroll down to find the Transplant shock portion) and the other is from treesaregood.org.

This answer to a previous question covers a situation similar to yours.

 

From the Image Gallery


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting Indian Paintbrush in Corona CA
November 05, 2013 - I have a very mature Indian Paintbrush Plant that was becoming too large for the area I had originally planted it in, so I transplanted it to an area much more suited for its size. I reviewed the que...
view the full question and answer

Incorrectly planted anacua from San Antonio
November 22, 2013 - I purchased a 12' anacua tree from a local nursery about 18 months ago. It was not planted correctly (root bound, rolled into a hole about 3" larger than the pot) but is still alive with the number...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant Plants and moving Wax myrtles in Austin
April 30, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, What are the most fire resistant and drought tolerant plants for caliche soil in Austin area? I am considering relocating or removing my wax myrtle shrubs because they are ...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Recently planted live oak tree in Boerne, TX
February 07, 2009 - My brother planted a live oak in August. It was from a nursery and had a root ball. It looks dead but I keep watering it. The trunk is about 6 inches around. The leaves died but when the winds came th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.