Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 15, 2008

From: Sachse, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Watering, Trees
Title: Proper watering of cedar elm trees in Sachse, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I've just planted two Cedar elm trees in clay soil, each about four inches in diameter, and I want to water them correctly. I'm aware that too much water can be bad as well as too little water. I don't want to endanger the trees because of improper watering.

ANSWER:

We would have preferred that you plant the Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) in late Fall or early Winter, when the plant was dormant, and the heat was not so intense. However, now that you have it in the ground, it is going to need some tender loving care to keep it going. Sachse, in north central Texas, may not have had quite as extreme a drought and heat wave as Central Texas has, but close. Newly planted trees will almost surely have had some root damage, if not actually having had some root pruning, before they go into their permanent location. Clay soil is all right for the Cedar elm, but you do have to be careful not to overwater it and drown the roots. Hopefully, you amended the soil with some compost or other organic materials to loosen the dirt and improve the texture. Whether you did that or not, do mulch with an shredded hardwood mulch. This will protect the roots from the heat, and help to keep moisture in the ground. Also, as it decomposes, the mulching material will continue to add more organic material around the tree roots. Now, stick a hose down into the dirt around the roots, and water it with a very slow dribble until water appears on the surface. Then, watch and see how long the water takes to disappear. If it takes a half hour or more, the soil is not draining well at all. If it is draining normally, you can give the tree its drink of water every other day. If water does appear to be standing in the hole, give it less water but every day. This should go on until the weather cools and/or we get some rainfall. Keep a close eye on your tree, as it is susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease.This website gives comprehensive instructions for identifying and dealing with this very destructive disease.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

More Transplants Questions

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Flaming sumacs in trouble in Wimberley TX
August 31, 2010 - I planted three flaming sumacs last fall and all leafed out this spring. Then, early this month all the leaves turned brown on one and it appears to have died. Today I noticed that a second one is d...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Granbury, TX.
April 14, 2011 - We live on a rocky hill in Hood County, Tx. and need suggestions for evergreen anything that will provide privacy. Red Cedars were added in October 2010 and it looks as if half of those are dying. He...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of one Desert Willow in Phoenix AZ
September 06, 2013 - We planted 4 desert willow trees in the summer and 3 of the 4 are doing excellent, however the last one is not not doing so well, it was the smallest of all and it started out fine but its leaves bega...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Eve's Necklace from Round Mountain TX
April 16, 2013 - We have dozens of small Eve's necklace plants coming up in our large yard. I would like to share them with my friends who aren't so lucky. Many years ago, I tried to transplant one, and it didn't...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.