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

Monday - April 15, 2013

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting Seedling Texas Mountain Laurels
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have two mountain laurels that I grew from seed. They are in pots, but the roots have grown through the bottom and into my flower bed. The trees are about 6 feet tall. They have already bloomed. So I am wondering if I can transplant them now or do I need to wait until fall?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants answered a previous question about transplanting seedling Texas mountain laurels and gave lots of great tips for success from practical experience. Take a look at it. Here's some of the advice given: Transplanting small plants is easier than bigger ones. It will be easier for you to secure all of the roots without breakage when you dig them. If you look up Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) in the plants database, you will see that there is a section on propagation with information for the type of soil it requires. In the propagation mention, it indicates that this is a tough plant to transplant, so maybe Mr Smarty Plants is just lucky but we think this has more to do with monitoring and caring for the new transplants, making sure they are getting enough water and sunlight until new growth emerges. Once you have healthy new growth you can back off on fussing with them.

Moving your good size plant will mean disrupting the roots and you may have to break the pot to keep the roots intact when you move it since the roots are growing out of the pot and into the soil below. Texas mountain laurels have deep tap roots - even when young. So lots of care must be taken to preserve the roots unharmed. If you do move the plants, carefully look at the roots in the pot to see if you can unwind any that are circling the pot. If they are planted like this they may girdle themselves when they get older and cause problems for your tree.

The plants seem very happy on their current location having grown to 6 foot height – can they stay there? Horticulturist Calvin Finch wrote in the San Antonio Express-News that the survival rate for transplanting specimens more than about 2.5 feet (from the wild) is low. Even though you aren't transplanting from the wild, the digging up and moving action is the same and can be very disruptive.  It would be very sad to lose them at this point as Texas mountain laurel can be tough to transplant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Transplants Questions

Source for supplier of cedar plants in Pennsylvania
January 20, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants - please disregard a stupid question I asked a little earlier today about sourcing cedar plants near Easton, PA. I figured out looking up "Nurseries" could lead to Yellow Pages ent...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Problems in germination of Asclepias tuberosa in New York
August 31, 2006 - I am a member of the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College and I need information on Acleptis tuberosa. I am in USDA zone 6. Last year I planted fresh seeds purchased from Johnny's S...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bud out of nuttall oak in Albany GA
April 26, 2010 - We planted a nutall oak in the fall of 09. It seemed to fare well during the winter. It is now spring and all of our other trees are budding out. The limbs are flexible. Not breaking off easily like t...
view the full question and answer

Cedar sage not blooming in pots in Austin
September 14, 2012 - I have cedar sage (salvia roemeriana) in containers on a dappled-shade apartment patio in Austin, TX. This is their first season here, transplanted in May (it's now September). All the plants have be...
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