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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 12, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Problems with a Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a large Monterey Oak, planted last year that has not gotten any fuller. Do I need to fertilize and if so, when?

ANSWER:

When Mr. Smarty Plants hears about large trees planted a year ago that aren't doing well, the first thing that comes to mind is transplant shock. The first order of business for a transplanted tree (or any plant ) is to get the root system going so that it can support the canopy and initiate new growth. The tree is under stress, and a general rule regarding stressed plants is not to fertilize them. This can stimulate the growth of new leaves, thus putting more stress on the root system.

I've excerpted a portion of an article from the University of Kentucky that gives a good explanation of transplant shock. Reading the complete article will give you some ideas about caring for your Monterey Oak.

Transplant Shock
Whenever a tree or shrub is moved from one growing site (e.g. a nursery) to another (e.g. your landscape), it is stressed. When great care is taken to minimize stress through proper transplant techniques and maintenance, the plant is likely to recover rapidly and become well-established in the new site. Unfortunately, all too often the opposite occurs-the tree or shrub suffers "transplant shock' from careless or improper transplant methods, and recovery is hindered. Poor growth, wilting, yellowing, premature leaf or needle drop and dieback are typical symptoms of transplant shock. Trees or shrubs unable to recover, continue to decline and eventually die.
A tree or shrub may take as long as 3 years to recover from transplanting stress. Even with good root regeneration, the transplant often will not show much top growth until roots reach their original expanse prior to digging. Failure of the plant to regenerate new, healthy roots or to establish its root system in the new site is frequently the underlying cause of transplant shock. Such root-related problems may be traced to one or more factors: stresses that occurred when the plant was removed from the original site, injury in transit, improper planting techniques and/or poor cultural practices.


 

 

More Transplants Questions

Wrapping a newly planted non-native Japanese maple from Fraser MI
October 01, 2013 - Does a newly planted Japanese maple need to be wrapped in burlap for the cold and snowy winter of Macomb County, Michigan?
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

Transplant shock in Texas Star hibiscus
July 31, 2008 - Why is my Texas star plant wilting and now is starting to turn yellow? I just bought it from a nursery and put it in a new pot.
view the full question and answer

When and how to transplant a Texas persimmon
January 02, 2009 - When and how should I transplant a 12' Texas persimmon? How much root ball do I need to get?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting American beautyberry in Cordele GA
May 19, 2014 - Is mid to late May too late in the season to transplant Callicarpa americana, American Beautyberry?
view the full question and answer

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