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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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Tuesday - June 16, 2015

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Transplanting wildflowers slated for destruction in Buda, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

TXDOT has recently informed our church that they will be taking a sizeable amount of natural area fronting a ranch road for lane expansion. We are devastated to lose an are we have planted and nurtured and would like to rescue all we can. We are preparing to begin seed collection of flowering plants and are trying to plan on digging up recent plantings for relocation. I would like to know if it is possible to dig deep enough to safely lift a 3-4 foot area of antelope horn as well as frost weed in order to transplant them. Is there anyone who helps with rescuing old growth live oaks as we will have many destroyed otherwise? There is much more but I cannot list it all here.

ANSWER:

Now is not a good time to transplant perennials in central Texas.  If your efforts can wait until fall or winter, your chances of success will be greatly increased.  Mature Antelope Horns (Asclepias asperula) resent being transplanted and you will need to try to disturb it's roots as little as possible when lifting them.  In winter, once your Frostweed (Verbesina virginica) plants have died down, their roots are easily transplanted.  They like shady areas, preferably under Live Oak trees.  

However, you might consider collecting and sowing seeds of both of these species.  Antelope Horns seed capsules are maturing now and their seeds should be collected just as their fruits are bursting open and before they are scattered by the wind.  Frostweed seeds will mature in late fall about time of the first cold weather.

We do not know of anyone who helps with rescuing old growth Live Oaks.  That is an extraordinarily difficult and expensive endeavor.

 

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