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

Smarty Plants on potted plants
May 23, 2005 - How do you know when it is time to transfer a potted plant to a bigger pot? Everytime I do this my plant dies.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting wild sumac
September 23, 2010 - About a month ago I dug up five sumac from my backyard in Aylmer Quebec. I potted them. They now look dead. I wanted to transplant them at my cottage in Barrie Ontario. Can I still transplant them...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting native flame leaf sumac in Eden, TX
October 26, 2008 - We have tried without success to transplant a flame leaf sumac from the ranch to the house. What are we doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Banana Shrub from Houston
May 01, 2014 - My 7' beloved Banana Shrub (magnolia) has white dots on top of the leaves and nasty black stuff covering the backside of the leaves. The plant is dropping leaves. What can I do to save it? I has bee...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in Boerne TX
August 29, 2012 - 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-...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center