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

Thursday - July 27, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Transplants, Watering
Title: Transplant shock
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Today I dug up a new natchez variety crape myrtle that had only been planted about 3 months ago. It is fairly young. It was very difficult to dig up as it's root were pretty settled in the spot it was in, however I needed to move it to make way for a french drain I am putting in. I moved it about three feet away. When I replanted it the core/bulb was considerably smaller as I had to cut through a lot of roots to get it out of the ground (I know, dumb move). I really hope I haven't killed it and am wondering what I should be doing on a daily basis over the next several days/weeks/months (whatever) to save it's life. I was going to give it some seaweed extract but think that it may be in shock and don't want to shock it anymore. The leaves are already wilting on what just this morning was a healthy, vivacious Crape Myrtle. Any help would be EXTREMELY valued.

ANSWER:

While crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica is not a North American native plant species and does not fall within our area of study, we can give you some general guidelines for transplanting and ameliorating the effects of transplant shock. Plant response to transplanting (transplant shock) is a complicated issue. Some of the factors involved may include the general health of the tree before transplanting, type of transplanting method used, size of the root ball relative to the size of the top of the tree, time of year transplanted, time of day of transplanting, weather conditions on, before and after transplanting, soil conditions before and after transplanting, pruning at time of transplanting, and after-transplanting care. This is by no means an exhaustive list, other factors can also play a role in transplantation success or failure.

It is tempting to water more in response to signs of transplant stress. However, that is often fatal for your plant. The better solution is almost always to remove foliage by pruning. In general, a newly tranplanted tree should have 1/3 to 1/2 of its foliage removed at the time of transplanting. This is usually accomplished by judicious pruning of branches.

Plants under stress should not be fed, so don't feed your crepe myrtle until it begins actively growing again; probably next spring. Prune back as much top as you feel comfortable removing -- crepe myrtle can actually stand very hard pruning with little ill-effect. Finally, keep a close eye on the rootball to make sure the soil is not staying too wet. If it is, stop watering altogether for a few days until the soil can dry out some.

 

More Watering Questions

Esperanza failing to bloom in Odessa TX
September 01, 2009 - I have 3 Esperanza plants that have not bloomed this spring/summer. I live in Odessa, TX. We had about 5 inches of rain in July in one week (very unusual), but they have not bloomed-before or after. ...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Salvia Mystic Spires in Chesterfield VA
May 30, 2009 - Last August, our local Lowes had these beautiful, unusual blue perennials on the discount rack called "Salvia Mystic Spires". For 50 cents each, they looked terrific, so I bought all they had, about...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Texas redbud sapling
July 27, 2008 - I've just discovered a Texas red bud sapling (baby tree)that decided to grow next to our fire pit. Although there's no reason for us to sit around the campfire in 100 degree weather, I would like to...
view the full question and answer

Sycamore leaf snowbell from Pleasanton TX
August 18, 2012 - How do you care for a sycamore leaf snowbell. Does it like sun or part shade? How much water? How often and what should it be fed. How fast or slowly does it grow? Anything you can tell me would be ap...
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
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