Contact Us Host an Event 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

Tuesday - August 09, 2011

From: Saint Louis, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting a redbud in August from St. Louis MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 4' tall redbud that needs to be transplanted before the end of August because of construction on our house. Can this be done without killing the tree? Can I take a cutting from the tree and coax roots in water, just in case the transplanting doesn't go well? The tree is very healthy but daytime temps are mid-80's, falling to the mid-60's overnight. Please advise, thanks!

ANSWER:

Daytime temps in the 80's?! That sounds like mid-winter down here in Texas. When we first started reading your question, we were on the verge of saying NO, because we recommend planting in late Fall or Winter around here. However, you might be able to pull it out since the tree is obviously still not very large.

Our website has a set of Step-by-Step Guides and we found one on Transplanting Trees.  This is illustrated using a tree still in a nursery pot, but the basic rules apply. North Dakota State University Transplanting Trees and Shrubs, although not illustrated except for some links to black and white drawings, has some very good explanations of the procedures that should be considered. You will have to ignore the parts about the seasons to plant, because you have no choice, but you can certainly get information on preparing the hole in advance of digging up the tree, preparing the root ball, filling the hole and watering.

Another article you should read from our How-to Articles is Under Cover with    Mulch. Your plant is probably Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud), which grows natively to Missouri. Follow the plant link to our page on that tree to make sure you have the proper soils (moist, fertile, well-drained) and light (part shade, or shade) when you select the new home for your tree. Take special note in the articles we have referred you to on watering a newly planted tree. Transplant shock is one of the biggest killers of woody plants and shrubs, so the more precautions you take, the better your chances of still having a redbud next year.

On the webpage for Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud), be sure and read the Propagation paragraph, which mentions that propagation from cuttings is nearly impossible, and seed is the best possibility. We are not sure if the seeds will be ready to harvest on your tree before you have to transplant, but hopefully so. If you want to give cuttings a try, here is an article from Purdue University New Plants from Cuttings. We don't think there is much chance you can propagate new plants by putting cuttings in water.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

More Transplants Questions

Turks cap not blooming in Austin
June 03, 2008 - Why is my Turks Cap not blooming? It gets about an hour of sun in the morning, then shade for the rest of the day. It gets watered with the sprinkler system that waters our lawn.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a non-native rose from Akron OH
August 30, 2012 - Can I transplant a rose plant that I have in sunny area to an area that will be partially shady?
view the full question and answer

Planting from pots in summer in Austin
July 01, 2009 - It's the last week in June and temperatures are going to be at 100 or more all week. I've some plants that I'm wondering about transplanting to an exposed site in this heat: muhlenbergeria lindheim...
view the full question and answer

Can I Divide Rudbeckia in July in NC.
July 22, 2009 - How do I transplant Blackeyed Susans so I can add them to other parts of the bed. I started with one and it is crowding out other plants, so I would like to transplant to other parts of the yard.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting False Gaura in Austin
October 27, 2010 - I am transplanting my false gaura. Do they transplant well, and should I cut them back?
view the full question and answer

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