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

Monday - June 21, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting suckers on Cenizo in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our large silverado sage has produced some volunteers, which are now about 1 ft - 1-1/2 ft tall. Is it possible to transplant them or has the taproot grown too deep for transplanting? Also, will the volunteers produce any blooms? They haven't yet.

ANSWER:

We assume you are referring to Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), which is sometimes marketed under the trade name 'Silverado Sage.' We have made an extensive search to determine if this plant spreads by suckering as, for instance, does the sumac. We found no indication of that anywhere. Suckering can sometimes be the result of some sort of damage to the main plant, in which case the suckers are an attempt by the roots to survive. They are not separate little bushes, but basically new "branches" to the tree, growing directly out of the roots to add leaves to the food-producing mechanism of the plant.

We even saw a hint that spraying an herbicide in the area, especially if it came into contact with the green bark, could cause a decline in the "mother" bush and putting out suckers like lifeboats. The writers of this didn't seem too sure of it themselves, and we certainly don't know anything about it. We do want to warn anyone who is trying to eliminate some "weeds" with chemicals that they don't know what else in the area will be affected; a puff of wind could take out some plants you didn't want to lose. Another culprit we are hearing about is the over-application of "weed and feed" fertilizers on lawns. The "weed" part of that application is intended to kill the broad-leaf plants in a lawn, that is, dicots, as opposed to the grass in the lawn, which is a monocot. As it happens, shrubs and trees are also dicots, so an overly enthusiastic application of "weed and feed" or, again, the puff of wind could damage the roots of your shrubs.

We do not believe trying to transplant those suckers would be successful, because the suckers' roots are the shrub's roots. If you would like to increase your plant, here are the Propagation Instructions from our Native Plant Database:

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: Plant seeds in greenhouse immediately after summer collection or store over winter in a cool, dry place and plant outside in spring, after final frost. Cuttings should be semi-hardwood and of the current seasons growth.
Seed Collection: Seeds are very tiny and must be collected before the capsule dries and splits open. Collect after each blooming period. Store in a cool, dry place.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune plants to keep compact. The best time for planting most shrubs and trees is during the dormant period of fall and winter. As with any shrub or tree, the first year requires regular deep watering for successful root establishment. Once established, does not require fertilization or watering beyond average rainfall. Cultivated cenizos tend to become leggier with fewer blooms than in nature; tip prune to increase density.

It is our suggestion that you wait until cool weather and prune away the suckers, carefully, without damaging the bark of the trunk. Don't spray any herbicide anywhere around there because you have created an entrance into the tree roots for that herbicide in pruning. Remember that the Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) needs very good drainage and no fertilizer

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

 

 

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Wildflowers after controlled burn in New Braunfels, TX
February 19, 2009 - I live in the Hill Country a few miles north of New Braunfels. As soon as we get enough rain to lift our burn ban, I will be thinning out some of my Ashe juniper and will do some burning in the open ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Propagation and transplanting of Vernonia lindheimeri
April 10, 2007 - I have located a wooly ironweed plant and have taken some seeds to start. This is the only ironweed I have seen. Any suggestions on how to start the seed? Also, if development of the property appea...
view the full question and answer

Oakleaf hydrangea in Indiana
November 18, 2010 - I was given a start of an oak leaf hydrangea by a generous friend from her garden. I have been searching for "what to expect" about this plant. I planted it last year and it grew..this year..but d...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of blackberry from Williamsport PA
January 18, 2014 - I have been told that if you cut a branch off of a black berry bush and stick it in water for a few days, and then put it in the ground it will grow into another bush. Please tell me if this is true a...
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