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

Thursday - February 10, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Transplants
Title: Possible transplant shock in recently planted Anacua in San Antonio, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I planted an Anacua tree from a nursery this past November. The tree I purchased was about 6ft tall and was a leftover from the spring. The roots were pretty wound up inside. After shaking the roots loose, I planted it in some bulk garden soil from Gardenville, added some root growth liquid that the nursery had suggested, and watered it. Shortly after, the sparse leaves that it had turned brown on the tips and fell off. The branches are not brittle. Did I kill my tree or did it just lose its foliage due to stress and come back in the spring?


Anacua Ehretia anacua (Anacua) is a sub-tropical, evergreen or partly deciduous ornamental in Texas. It is hardy in dry areas, and checking the USDA County Dristribution Map indicates that you have it growing in the right area. Check the Soil Description and the Conditions Comments on the Native Plant Database page to see if it is in the right kind of soil.

The first thing that comes to mind is transplant shock. You had a root-bound tree that is now adjusting to its new surroundings. To determine if it is still alive, do the "thumbnail test". Scratch off the bark on an upper limb with your thumb; if you find green tissue under the bark, that's a good sign. If you don't find green tissue, move further down the stem and test again. Keep repeating until you reach the bottom of the plant. If you find no green tissue, I'm afraid its "aloha Anacua".

But let's be more optimistic!

I'm including several links dealing with transplant shock (how to prevent it and treat it), proper tree planting techniques, and care of saplings. One of the most common mistakes is overwatering newly planted trees.

Transplant shock


    University of Kentucky

Tree Planting


     Clemson University

Ehretia anacua

Ehretia anacua












More Transplants Questions

Fast-growing tree for Wilmington NC
May 22, 2010 - What kind of fast-growing tree would you plant in Wilmington, NC?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen screen for newly constructed metal building
March 31, 2010 - Neighbor built a 12' tall metal building right by my gate. I want to screen it with fast-growing evergreen natives. I have lots of ashe juniper on my property, but none where I need it now! Can AJ...
view the full question and answer

Mystic Spires salvia in transplant shock
July 04, 2008 - Hello. I live in Taylor, Tx. Just outside Austin, Texas. I recently planted mystic spires. One gallons and will receive the hot afternoon sun. All the research says they can tolerate this location. Th...
view the full question and answer

Garden problems from Centreville VA
July 23, 2011 - Plants die, trees won't grow. I've replaced the soil (6") twice. Replaced grass twice and planted new plants and tree. After two yrs, the tree is still the same size and the flowering bushes nea...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Lime Prickly Ash in Austin
March 22, 2010 - We found only one small what we think is Zanthoxylum fagara or Lime Prickly Ash, Colima on our 8 acres, and the deer had apparently recently broken the main stem. I quickly made 6 or 7 cuttings, dippe...
view the full question and answer

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