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
1 rating

Saturday - August 04, 2012

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Transplanting American Beautyberry from Elgin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

A friend wants me to take her American Beautyberry shrubs that are in containers, because she is moving and can't take them with her. I have to transport them in the back of a truck and am afraid that the wind will break the stems. It is August, but can I prune them back now, while they still have many berries, so they can be transported safely?

ANSWER:

We guess if it's that or abandon Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry), a very fine plant, then yes, give it a try. This is, as we are sure you know, NOT a good time to transplant any woody plant, and the risk of transplant shock is high, so plan carefully. The wind around the truck bed drying out the leaves, roots and stems will be just as damaging as stem breakage. Try to arrange to do the trimming in a "cool" part of the day, as short a time before they will be moved as possible. Keep them watered well as long as they are in the pots. but not the day before moving day, that will make the pots heavier and harder to handle. Have holes already prepared in the destination garden before the move is begun.

As you remove each shrub from its container, check the roots to make sure they have not wrapped around in the container. Some root trimming is appropriate so the roots can get quickly out into the new soil, before the roots strangle the bush.

The dirt out of the prepared holes should be amended with compost or other organic matter to help the new rootlets access nutrients in the soil and improve drainage. Get them pot to hole as quickly as possible, pull the amended dirt in around the root ball, leaving it a little higher than the original soil level, as the dirt will settle as it is watered. As soon as each plant is in its hole, stick a hose as far down in the dirt around the roots as you can, and let it dribble slowly until water comes to the surface. Hopefully, by then you will have the next shrub in its hole and can move the hose there. Water every bush this way 2 or 3 times a week as long as it is so hot and dry.

You probably will experience some leaf drop-the "transplant shock" that we mentioned. If you grow concerned that a bush is dead, do the thumbnail test, scratching a very thin outer layer off  a branch. If it has a green layer under there, that branch is still alive. This plant is deciduous and may drop leaves even earlier than usual, but continue to keep them watered and check to see if they are alive. DO NOT FERTILIZE. This will be a plant struggling to survive and to be fed fertilizer intended to push it to put out new leaves could easily be the last straw.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Shrubs Questions

Need plants for privacy screen and noise reduction in Dallas.
January 07, 2015 - Our backyard is on the north side of our house and is adjacent to the south side of LBJ Freeway (I-635) in Dallas. TXDOT only constructed an 8' concrete wall along our portion of its expanded right-o...
view the full question and answer

Blue Natives for San Antonio
June 28, 2012 - What are the best flowers or trees to buy since we are always in stage 2 and sometimes in stage 3 water conservation? I love flowers that are blue, preferably year around. THANK YOU
view the full question and answer

Replacing yellow bells with hibiscus from San Antonio
July 03, 2012 - Help! Will the roots of the yellow bells keep sprouting if I've removed the shrub? I'm replacing it with a hibiscus shrub. Will it do well in the same spot where the yellow bells were?
view the full question and answer

Native deer-resistant plants for Virginia
September 26, 2012 - I live in Roanoke/Salem Virginia and want to plant a few plants native to the area along the front yard rock wall. I would prefer they be the same, deer resistant, around 5-6 feet tall max and flower...
view the full question and answer

Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
June 25, 2009 - Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain 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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center