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?


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 - May 10, 2012

From: Wooster, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Trees
Title: Transplanting Trees in OH
Answered by: Anne Bossart


Is the middle of May too late to dig out Arborviteas and spruces to transplant? I live in central Ohio.


The quick answer is yes, it is too late.  It used to be said that in your part of the world you could only plant (or transplant) trees in months that have the letter "r" in their names.  That means that May through August are a no-go (too sunny, warm and dry).

But really ... it depends. 

It depends on: how big the tree you would like to move is (the smaller the tree, the greater chance of success), on what type of soil you have (rich, moist soil is better than dry, sandy soil), how hot the weather is (if it is cool and rainy or even overcast the tree will not transpire as much as if it is hot and sunny), how much native soil you manage to dig out with the tree roots (some trees, like apples, seem drop all their soil no matter how careful you are, so then transplanting them is essentially like planting a bare-root tree) and how much of the root system you dig out (if the transplanted tree does not have enough roots to deliver the necessary water and nutrients to the top, you should prune the tree accordingly, to improve the chances of survival).

Finally, it depends on how much risk you are willing to take.  If you can't stand the thought of losing the trees, then wait until early fall (when the soil is still warm enough for the tree to regenerate some of the root system and then go dormant for the winter).  If you can ... then go for it.

There are some videos on eHow regarding transplanting evergreens that you will find helpful.


More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Moving a red oak away from the house foundation
January 24, 2008 - About a 3 weeks ago I noticed a 5 ft. red oak growing in my flower bed. I hadn't noticed it growing up through my shrubs until the leaves turned bright red. The problem is that its coming up about tw...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

Seasonal tasks for Big Red Sage and Tall Aster in Marble Falls TX
January 09, 2012 - I transplanted some Big Red Sage and Tall Aster into my raised bed garden in early summer this year. They've sent up lots of rosettes. Do I need to protect them from freezing in winter? Do I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Bermuda, not the only option in Memphis
November 04, 2014 - I'm building an energy efficient home in Memphis and want to extend that strategy to the landscaping. I'd like to plant native grasses, but this lot is surrounded by lots sodded with Bermuda grass....
view the full question and answer

Wintering of non- native jasmine in Newton KS
September 18, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I received a gorgeous jasmine for mothers day and I planted it in my front yard in the flower area close to the house. Can I keep it there all winter or do I need to dig it up a...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center