Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - October 26, 2008

From: Eden, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Transplanting native flame leaf sumac in Eden, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have tried without success to transplant a flame leaf sumac from the ranch to the house. What are we doing wrong?

ANSWER:

It's difficult to tell you what, if anything, you have been doing wrong, because we don't what you have been doing to transplant Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) from its natural setting to an urban property. However, we did find this propagation information on the webpage linked above on Flame-leaf Sumac:

"Several species of Rhus are commercially available as propagated stock, which is both ecologically more desirable and usually more successfully established than plants dug from the wild. The best time for planting most shrubs and trees is during the dormant period of fall and winter. Even during the winter, however, the root ball needs moisture, so plan some winter watering if soaking rains fail to come regularly. You can use a spade to cut outer shoots from a spreading cluster in the wild. This allows the plant to remain in its natural setting while providing transplantable shoots that already have a developed root system. Simply cut straight down between the outside “sucker” shoots and the other plant and then cut around the new shoots to remove them from the soil. Keep the roots wrapped in damp newspaper and out of the sun. Replant the same day, if possible.

Even during the winter, the root ball needs moisture, so plan some winter watering if soaking rains fail to come regularly. As with any shrub or tree, native or introduced, the first year requires regular deep watering for successful root establishment. Once established, sumacs do not require fertilizing or watering beyond average rainfall."

The sumac does put up suckers that will eventually add to the plant and form a thicket. If you have been attempting to transplant one of these suckers without finding one that has roots already developed on it, that may be the problem you are encountering. Another problem may have been transplant shock. Following the instructions to transplant when the plant is semi-dormant, late Fall or early Winter, getting it quickly back into dirt, and watering slowly and consistently can help prevent transplant shock. 


Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

 

 

 

More Planting Questions

Need fast growing shade tree in San Diego County, CA
June 17, 2015 - I am looking for a fast growing tree that provides great shade. The reason being, is I need shade for three horseshoe pits and the sooner i get shade, the better. I live in San Diego county, zone 9b. ...
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Tall perennials for a sunny North Carolina border
March 26, 2012 - I need border plants for in front of a picket fence along front sidewalk. Space is only approx 1'6" wide and widening is not an option. So far I have daylilies, cannas, Mexican petunias, daisies, i...
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting American Beautyberry from Elgin TX
August 04, 2012 - A friend wants me to take her American Beautyberry shrubs that are in containers, because she is moving and can't take them with her. I have to transport them in the back of a truck and am afraid th...
view the full question and answer

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