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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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Wednesday - November 17, 2010

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Time to transplant an Eastern Redbud in Pearland, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is the best time in the fall to transplant an Eastern Redbud tree in Pearland, TX? We have one approximately 6 feet tall in the back yard and want to move it to the front ASAP.

ANSWER:

For Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) or just about any tree, now is good, or any time except when a hard freeze is predicted, until about the end of January. You still will have to take precautions to avoid transplant shock. Prepare a hole larger than you think you'll need, and put some compost in it to help with drainage and to make the nutrients in the soil available to the little tiny rootlets, many of which will be damaged in transit. Don't fertilize! Your tree will be stressed enough without having fertilizer urging it to put on leaves at the wrong time of the year. Depending on the strength of the trunk and the height of the tree, you may want to stake it. You can go to any home improvement store and find several different systems for staking. A good staking system will keep it from keeling over when a hard wind blows; it probably should stay staked for at least a year. To water, and you will need to water, even though the tree is dormant, stick a hose down in the loose soil you have made for your tree roots and let it slowly dribble until water shows up on the surface. You should do this about 2 times a week for a couple of months unless you are having steady regular rain.

The most important step is to get as much of the root system out of the ground quickly and back into your new, prepared hole the same day, if at all possible. The longer those roots are exposed, the more they will dry out. During dormancy, the water in a tree is down in the lower part and the roots; they cannot go without watering.

Here is an article from About.com that summarizes the steps to take, How to Transplant Trees and Shrubs.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis


Cercis canadensis


Cercis canadensis


Cercis canadensis

 

 

 

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