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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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Wednesday - August 29, 2012

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting a redbud in Boerne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi there, My question is when is it safe to transplant a native tree? I have a redbud tree come up in m flower bed I want to try to transplant it instead of cutting it out. It is very young - maybe 4-6 months of growth. Less than 1/8" in diamater and about 2.5' tall.I live in the Hill Country North of Boerne, TX - it is still hot here.

ANSWER:

We are so glad you asked. It's depressing to answer all the questions from people with dead or dying new trees who planted them in the hot summer months. They have committed transplant shock, and not that many trees ever recover from it. We strongly recommend that you wait until November to January in Central Texas to plant any woody plant. In fact, we wouldn't recommend planting anything this time of year. You shouldn't be out there in the sun and neither should a new plant.

First, check out our Step-by-Step Guide Transplanting a Tree. The only thing we would add to these excellent instructions is that, having removed the dirt from the new hole, mix some good aged compost in the dirt, maybe about half and half, before you return it to the hole  around your tree roots. And definitely follow the instructions to put some good quality shredded bark mulch over the roots, but not touching the trunk. As time goes by, that mulch will protect the roots from heat or cold and, as it decomposes, will continue to help with the drainage in the hole.

While you are indoors, waiting for cool weather, follow this link to our webpage on Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), where you can learn what amount of sunlight it needs, soils and moisture, to give your plant a good start in life.

 

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