Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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
2 ratings

Friday - April 20, 2012

From: Jackson, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?

ANSWER:

Since we really didn't know anything about any of these trees, we found this article detailing the similarities and differences between them. Chestnuts, Horse-Chestnuts and Ohio Buckeye from the University of Michigan Extension Services.

Of these, two are native to North America, Castanea dentata (American chestnut) and Aesculus glabra var. arguta (Ohio buckeye). The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the areas where they grow naturally.

So, that leaves Aesculus hippocastunum, red horsechestnut, as the one you apparently want to move. That tree is native to a small area in the Balkans, Greece and Albania, and therefore falls out of our area of expertise. From the University of Connecticut, here is some information on it. Another article from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

None of this has much to do with moving your tree; we just kind of like to know what we are talking about. Saying you have a 12" around trunk doesn't really tell us a whole lot, but we are willing to bet it is a pretty big tree.

From e-How, here is an article on How to Transplant a Tree or Large Shrub. The very first line about starting a year before you plan to move probably indicates this isn't going to go well.

If you feel that way, too, let's consider the alternatives. There are all sorts of tree movers that had advertisements on the page I got when I searched on "moving a large tree," but you have already said you don't want to do that. You should realize that, even if moved by heavy equipment that is built for that, the tree could still succumb to transplant shock. If the tree dies, we doubt you would get your money back from the tree mover. If you move it, without that equipment, you would likely still lose the tree. Are you selling the property where the tree is now? It would probably help the property value and sales appeal if it was left where it is. We are sure the tree would appreciate that.

A better plan would be to begin afresh in your new property, choosing young trees. If you are staying in the Jackson County area, we will look for trees native to that area. We have checked each of these on the USDA Plant Profile Map for that tree to make sure it grows naturally in Jackson County. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree to find out its projected height, bloom time and growing conditions.

Acer rubrum (Red maple)

Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Fagus grandifolia (American beech)

Nassella viridula (Green needlegrass)

Ostrya virginiana (Eastern hop-hornbeam)

 

From the Image Gallery


Red maple
Acer rubrum

Ohio buckeye
Aesculus glabra

American hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

Eastern hop-hornbeam
Ostrya virginiana

More Trees Questions

Premature leaf drop on Red Maple in Kentucky
June 25, 2008 - I have a ten foot Red Maple tree that has been set out for 4 years. Its leaves have slowly turned colors until it currently looks like fall. The leaves are not falling off nor is there yet any s...
view the full question and answer

Holding an Acer rubrum in a container for two years
October 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am thinking about ordering a Red Maple tree that is cultivated from Mount Vernon. I appreciate the historic nature of such a tree. The tree will be shipped to me and is ...
view the full question and answer

Planting spot for sycamore in Belle Mead NJ
April 19, 2010 - At school we all got a tree. It was a Buttonwood tree, which I know is REALLY big, but my grandma wants to plant it near other trees. Where should I put it? My dad won't let me plant it in the middle...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant that may be a horse apple (Maclura) in Springtown, TX.
July 21, 2009 - I have a tree that I think is a crab apple, however, I can't find it in any collection on internet. The fruit looks like light green colored apples, however, they are very hard and very course textu...
view the full question and answer

Obtaining bark of Larix laricina from Hyderabad India
January 26, 2012 - I am in need of Larix laricina (Bark) for my research work. Please let me know how to procure it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.