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?


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 - October 11, 2010

From: Springfield, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Moving a volunteer holly from Springfield IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


When would be the very best time to move a volunteer holly? I would say it is 3 years old, it stands about 5 feet tall, shaped like a very nice tree and it keeps its leaves. Thank you. Karen


There are 13 members of the genus Ilex (holly) native to North America, and 4 native to Illinois. We determined that Sangamon County, in Central Illinois, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 5b. We like to start by trying to determine which holly you might be referring to.

We first looked at Ilex opaca (American holly) , which is shown in this USDA Plant Profile as being native only to one county in southwest Illinois. This could be out-of-date information or might be a reflection of the soils. The next one we considered was Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry), but this USDA Plant Profile still does not show it growing near you. So, we are going to assume that if it was a volunteer, it will grow there, and just give you some transplanting information.

This article from Sandy's Garden, Moving a Holly Bush gives the information probably much more clearly than we could. If your soil freezes in the Winter, we would definitely recommend that you do your transplanting in the early Spring, as the soil begins to warm. Whatever you do, prepare the hole for the rootball in advance, making it larger than the rootball and working in compost for drainage.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Ilex opaca

Ilex verticillata



More Compost and Mulch Questions

Native grass for caliche soil in Austin
February 06, 2010 - I am interested in using native grasses in part of my lawn per the recent article on these from the Wildflower Center. The problem is I live W. of Austin where there is very little top soil and calic...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas wild olive tree in Tucson
November 15, 2010 - Planted a Texas Olive tree in Tucson, Az. Some of the leaves are kind of yellow. It gets part sun and part shade and is growing. Is this due to too much water, not enough water or does it need somet...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for flower beds in Aledo, TX
March 10, 2009 - I have 2 beds that together run the length of the house foundation (25' each), we have 2 spots I would like to plant a Yaupon (Pride of Houston) in each spot approximately 2' from the foundation;is ...
view the full question and answer

Use of fresh clippings from tree trimmers for mulch in Austin
May 02, 2010 - Hi, The tree trimmers are in my neighborhood (east central Austin) to clear the power lines and said I can have a load of free mulch. I am wondering if there is any harm in using the fresh mulch from...
view the full question and answer

Planting a Texas Persimmon in rocky soil in Krum TX
March 27, 2009 - I have recently purchased a 10 gallon Texas Persimmon plant that I want to put as a highlight plant in my yard. According to the nursery, it has been in the pot for 2 years. I have been "blessed(or...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center