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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - June 12, 2011

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

 

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