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

Monday - April 15, 2013

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting Seedling Texas Mountain Laurels
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have two mountain laurels that I grew from seed. They are in pots, but the roots have grown through the bottom and into my flower bed. The trees are about 6 feet tall. They have already bloomed. So I am wondering if I can transplant them now or do I need to wait until fall?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants answered a previous question about transplanting seedling Texas mountain laurels and gave lots of great tips for success from practical experience. Take a look at it. Here's some of the advice given: Transplanting small plants is easier than bigger ones. It will be easier for you to secure all of the roots without breakage when you dig them. If you look up Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) in the plants database, you will see that there is a section on propagation with information for the type of soil it requires. In the propagation mention, it indicates that this is a tough plant to transplant, so maybe Mr Smarty Plants is just lucky but we think this has more to do with monitoring and caring for the new transplants, making sure they are getting enough water and sunlight until new growth emerges. Once you have healthy new growth you can back off on fussing with them.

Moving your good size plant will mean disrupting the roots and you may have to break the pot to keep the roots intact when you move it since the roots are growing out of the pot and into the soil below. Texas mountain laurels have deep tap roots - even when young. So lots of care must be taken to preserve the roots unharmed. If you do move the plants, carefully look at the roots in the pot to see if you can unwind any that are circling the pot. If they are planted like this they may girdle themselves when they get older and cause problems for your tree.

The plants seem very happy on their current location having grown to 6 foot height – can they stay there? Horticulturist Calvin Finch wrote in the San Antonio Express-News that the survival rate for transplanting specimens more than about 2.5 feet (from the wild) is low. Even though you aren't transplanting from the wild, the digging up and moving action is the same and can be very disruptive.  It would be very sad to lose them at this point as Texas mountain laurel can be tough to transplant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Transplants Questions

Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
October 27, 2011 - I live in a wooded area off of a dirt road that is going to be widened and paved by the state. There are many native plants and shrubs growing on the side of the road in areas that will soon be pavem...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting redbud from field in Edmond, OK
March 30, 2009 - I want to transplant a small redbud from a field to my yard. The trunk diam is about 1.5" and the tree is about 4' tall. What is the best way to do this? Should I plant it in a pot first?
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird plants and Indian Hawthorn
May 13, 2008 - I live in The Woodlands in a new section of homes. I planted some hummingbird plants in full sun and they did ok last year for 4 months, then lost all their leaves and died when the winter came. At ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in August from St. Louis MO
August 09, 2011 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Best time to plant non-native Crape Myrtle in Fulshear TX
July 01, 2010 - When are the best times to plant Crape Myrtles? My husband and I have just moved to Fulshear, TX (just slightly west of Houston) and being summer, I didn't think this was the best planting period. ...
view the full question and answer

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