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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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Thursday - June 15, 2006

From: Rainbow, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting Mustang Grapes
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

What is the best way to grow mustang grapes? We have vines established over the property but up too high to continue to harvest and a couple of young vines on the ground that haven't reached the closest tree yet. What way and when to move to another area and any special needs. We have red sandy soil and are by the Brazos river in north/central Texas.

ANSWER:

The best time to transplant mustang grape (Vitis mustangensis) and most other woody plants is during the dormant season from late November to late January. Select small, young plants as much as possible, since they will adjust better to being transplanted. Select new transplant sites that feature similar conditions to the ones in which the plants are presently growing, paying particular attention to light and moisture level.

Prepare the plants' roots by root pruning now. The purpose of root pruning is to circumscribe your root ball and prompt the formation of callus tissue, from which new roots will emerge. To do this, use a sharp shooter shovel or sharp spade to dig down around the plants in a circle as broad and deep as your root ball will be. The callus tissue will form between now and November.

When transplanting time arrives, dig the new hole first so the selected plants won't be exposed too long. Get as large a root ball as possible, and use a planting container or canvas/burlap cloth to transport it in.

Once the plant is set in the new hole and packed in, trim off 1/3 of the top growth to reduce transpiration in the spring. Water regularly for at least the first year to help the plant get established in its new site.

More detailed information can be found in the “Transplanting” and “Vitis” chapters of Jill Nokes' book, How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest.

 

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