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
1 rating

Monday - December 10, 2012

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be dug? Any other tips?


By following this plant link, Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress), to our webpage on this plant which is native to Harris County, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map, you will learn about its growing conditions, sunlight and water requirements.

We found an excellent website, AllExperts, which had very good instructions for transplantig a bald cypress, including estimating how large a hole should be. We recommend that woody plants, trees and shrubs, be transplanted in the coldest part of the year, when they are dormant and less susceptible to damage. We  believe your tree is young enough and small enough to be successfully transplanted. The main tip we would give you is not to take the tree out of its old hole until the new one is ready for it, with the resident soil mixed with a good compost to assist in access to nutrients in the soil. Second tip (free of charge): after planting, stick a hose down in the soil and let water dribble until it come to the top. Repeat this fairly frequently for several months. This tree is accustomed to growing in frequently-flooded areas and almost can't be overwatered.


From the Image Gallery

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Transplants Questions

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

Transplanting large Silverado Sage bushes from Mesa AZ
August 19, 2013 - We just bought a condo with three Silverado Sage, each one is 6-8 ft tall, trained to grow as "trees" with bare branches for the bottom 4 feet or so, and beautiful flowering branches on top. They ar...
view the full question and answer

Shriveling and dying of non-native impatiens
July 14, 2008 - Several years now many of my impatiens after a month or so seem to shrivel up and eventually die. They are planted in a row and not all are affected. I am not noticing any slug evidence which I would...
view the full question and answer

Gardening advice for Quebec
April 15, 2011 - I live in Aylmer Quebec 1. I bought some lily bulbs at a Christmas bazaar. When can I plant them and what do I put in the hole with the bulbs? 2. I bought a little potted cedar at COSTCO for a Ch...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting or seeding Indian paintbrush in Bend OR
July 21, 2009 - I would like to know whether I can transplant native Indian paintbrush plants into my landscaping, or do I need to try and grow them from seed?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center