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
2 ratings

Monday - August 23, 2010

From: Aylmer, QC
Region: Canada
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting sumacs in Ontario
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in Aylmer Quebec. I have 10 baby sumac in my back yard and want to transplant them at my cottage in southern Ontario on Lake Simcoe. When can I do this and how?

ANSWER:

Sumacs are a bit of an enigma; they spread like crazy and pop up everywhere you don't want them, yet they are notoriously difficult to transplant.  The challenge is compounded when transplanting at a cottage, as most plants need to be watered every couple of days for a few weeks after they are dug up and moved.

However, that does not mean that you shouldn't try as I have seen my neighbour do it successfully!

You have greatly improved your chances of success by indicating that they are babies and that there are ten of them.  Wait until they are getting ready to go dormant for the winter (starting to change colour) or some time in late September when the air is cool but the soil still warm.  This is important because the compromised root system will not be able to take up enough water to keep the plant alive if the sun is strong and the air very warm.  Transplanting them while the soil is still warm gives them time to generate some new roots before winter dormancy, so you wouldn't want to try it after Thanksgiving.

When you do decide to move them, try to minimize the amount of time they spend out of the ground.  Dig them up just before you head to the cottage, wrap their roots in wet paper towel or rags and place them in plastic bags. Plant them as soon as possible when you arrive and water them.  Keep the soil moist (but not soggy) while you are there. If you are lucky, it will rain during the week while you are back home and some of them will survive.

You might also try digging them up now and getting them established in pots in the shade at your home before moving them.  They may transition more easily to independant life at the cottage that way.  (I would be tempted to do half of them using one method and the rest the other).

Good luck.  If none survive, try again; you will surely have more in your yard in Aylmer before you know it!

 

More Propagation Questions

Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
October 01, 2012 - I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
view the full question and answer

Killing a century plant from Burton TX
August 08, 2013 - How do you kill the century plant, they are taking over?
view the full question and answer

Purchase of Galphimia angustifolia from Austin
June 08, 2014 - I have a Thryallis, Galphimia augustifolia, or Thryallis autustifolia, growing from a limestone ledge in my yard in west Austin TX. I have tried unsuccessfully to buy this native. Do you sell it at t...
view the full question and answer

How to propagate milkweed from root cuttings
June 08, 2009 - I am interested in propagating Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed). Your info page for this species says it can be propagated via root cuttings. Does this mean I can lop off a chunk of the root/tuber ...
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

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