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

Saturday - April 30, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Watering, Drought Tolerant, Trees
Title: Drought tolerant Plants and moving Wax myrtles in Austin
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, What are the most fire resistant and drought tolerant plants for caliche soil in Austin area? I am considering relocating or removing my wax myrtle shrubs because they are within 10' of my garage. Got a good guess on the likelihood they would survive given the drought? They are over 10' tall and about 6' wide. How much would I have to trim them down to make the relocation more survivable?

ANSWER:

   Mr Smarty Plants appreciates your economy.   Two questions for the entry of one! No matter, both questions are very topical for these drought-ridden times.  I’m going to answer them separately though.

  Your local native plants are well situated to be your choices for fire-resistant and drought tolerant plants.  After all, they have developed to thrive in the native state in the weather we get, and this isn’t the first nor the hardest drought that has developed.  So, for a really broad choice, use the Wildflower Center’s “Recommended Species” page and check out the “By Texas Ecoregion” selection in the “Just for Texans” box.  This way you can differentiate the difference between the Edwards Plateau eco-region [to the Northwest side of Austin] versus the Blacklands Prairie region [to the southeast]. 

  Of course, there are other resources where you don’t have to do quite as much choosing.  In a previous answer, it was pointed out that US Fish & Wildlife Service has a  website with recommendations. I also found two commercial websites with good discussions of drought-tolerant plants.  One is on Gardeners.com and the other on the Gardenweb forum.

  Now on to question number 2!   Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a Texas native, but is generally found in the counties farther to the east, so it prefers a somewhat moister climate.  It was listed in our data as 6-12 ft. in height, occasionally to 20 feet.  This indicates that your Wax myrtles are pretty mature.  My recommendation is to leave them there; they are about as big as they will get and inasmuch as they are 10 feet from the garage, this is a good distance.

  Relocation would be very traumatic for the Wax myrtles and their chance of surviving in this time of drought is not good, especially for ones as mature as these.  If you really want to move them, the best time is the winter when the tree is as dormant as it will get.  Wax myrtle is an evergreen, so it doesn’t have a clear dormancy like deciduous trees but the winter will be less stressful.  Moving mature trees is a process where you need to be much more careful than for smaller plants.   Here are a collection of three websites that address this process.

How to relocate a tree:

SavATree.com on mature tree transplants

The Homeknowitall.com on mature tree transplants

and Landscaping.com on transplanting.

 

More Transplants Questions

How to care for newly transplanted Live Oak.
July 02, 2009 - I planted 3 B & B, 6" caliper live oaks in February and they lost most of their leaves during the normal time but when the new leaves grew back the amount of leaves were quite a bit less. I have th...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
October 03, 2009 - Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
view the full question and answer

Problems with propagation of Indian Paintbrush (Castileja indivisa)
February 07, 2006 - We are growing Indian Paintbrush. I have 2-300 seedlings. They were sown with fescue and have grown beautifully. Now they are approximately 4-6 inches high, a few have bloomed and many seem to be dy...
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant shade tree seedlings from San Antonio
September 28, 2013 - What month do you transplant shade tree seedlings in San Antonio, TX<
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center