Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 Watering Questions

Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
September 03, 2011 - Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal...
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Plants for science fair project using greywater
November 17, 2013 - What kind of plants should we use for our science fair project.We are doing our project on how greywater affects plant growth. We saw your answer on how it affects it but we don't know what type of ...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Salvia Mystic Spires in Chesterfield VA
May 30, 2009 - Last August, our local Lowes had these beautiful, unusual blue perennials on the discount rack called "Salvia Mystic Spires". For 50 cents each, they looked terrific, so I bought all they had, about...
view the full question and answer

It's so hot, even the Salvia greggii are sad, in Bulverde Texas
July 28, 2011 - I have several Salvia greggii in large terra cotta pots. The leaves have developed a yellowish tint and are thinning. What is the best process to get them back to full green foilage?
view the full question and answer

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