En Español

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

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

Sunday - June 12, 2011

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree planting in OH
Answered by: Anne Bossart


When transplanting a tree (a maple in Spring in my case now), I understand that one should leave a surrounding doughnut like ridge around the root base to hold in the water from rains and irrigation. For how much time should this be left? I would like to eventually level it out and plant ground-cover all around the base of the tree up to the trunk. Thank you for your time.


Creating a saucer around a newly planted tree to facilitate watering in the first growing season is a good idea as long as it doesn't mean that the tree is standing in water for lengthy periods.

Check out our Step by Step Guide on tree planting to get an idea of how big the "doughnut" should be.  The Arbor Day Foiundation has a couple of videos on its website you will ind informative as well.  However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, check this link to a Texas A & M site on tree planting.  The diagram will show you everything you need to know.

But your questions was "how long should I leave the ring intact?".  The answer is: just as long as you feel hand watering is neccesary for the tree to establish.  By this fall your tree, since it is a native and well adapted to your climate, should be well established and able to thrive on what Mother Nature provides.


More Trees Questions

Desert Willow size question from Austin, TX
June 12, 2015 - Dear MSP, I have a desert willow named Edith. We got her from the CoA a couple of years ago for recycling our Chirstmas tree. She's doing well except her three little trunks are teeny-tiny. We wan...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
December 16, 2007 - Lately, I've been seeing references to a tree/shrub called a "lemon cypress tree". It looks like a standard Italian cypress, but the foilage is yellow. I cannot find any reference to this plant e...
view the full question and answer

What is eating the leaves of my oak tree in Cedar Park, TX?
May 25, 2010 - This one has a couple of arborists stumped. I have clusters of small, light-colored worms on the leaves of an oak tree, but no tents or webs. They are eating the chlorophyll in the leaves, leaving th...
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center