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

Saturday - May 11, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Trees
Title: Root ball disintegrating on Arroyo sweetwood from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just purchased a arroyo sweetwood in a 5 gallon container and when I went to put it in the ground the root ball completely fell apart. I put it in the ground and watered it really good. What are its chances of surviving?

ANSWER:

Please see this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on Myrospermum sousanum (arroyo sweetwood). Because our Native Plant Database contains information only on plants native to North America, excluding Mexico, we have no information on this plant. We can, however, attempt to answer your question on the bare-root planting of your tree.

The answer to your question depends on several factors about which we know nothing:

1. Was the tree planted before the weather got hot? We usually recommend that woody plants, trees and shrubs, be planted in Texas in cool weather, when the plants are semi-dormant, like November to January.

2. Did you  buy it from a reputable nursery with which you have done business before? To be honest, it doesn't sound like that plant had been rooted in the pot; perhaps a bare-root plant was stuck in the dirt and loose dirt poured over it, shortly before it was sold to you.

3. Did you amend the soil from the hole for the tree with some compost or other organic material to make it easier for the tiny new rootlet to absorb nutrients and water from the soil?

4. Have you been watering it by sticking a hose deep down in the dirt around the hole and letting it dribble until the surface soil was wet, about once a week?

Any of these actions or lack of same can contribute to whether or not the tree survives. Transplant shock is one of the most common causes of loss of trees. You are the only one who can answer the question on whether it will survive. Time will tell.

 

More Trees Questions

Problems with red oak trees in North Central Texas
July 13, 2013 - What is the disease effecting Red Oak trees in North Central Texas; causing them to lose leafs in Spring/Summer and turning the remaining leaves light yellow/lime green in color. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Advice on planting Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) in Vancouver, BC
October 26, 2007 - I live in the Vancouver, BC - Pacific Northwest area and the front of our yard faces south to southwest. If I were to plant a tree other than an evergreen, would the Korean Dogwood thrive in this are...
view the full question and answer

Shade Loving Plants for Under a Black Walnut Tree in Rochester, NY.
May 09, 2015 - Please advise on plants that will grow in the shade under a black walnut tree in Rochester, NY.
view the full question and answer

Lightning protection of smooth bark cypress
October 05, 2008 - I have been told that the smooth bark cypress stores a large amount of water at its base and if lightning strikes, it will explode and extinguish the flames. Could you tell me if this is a myth? I'...
view the full question and answer

Questions about Catalpa bignonioides
February 21, 2016 - We have a yard that is about 3/4 of an acre, and we have gotten rid of about 3/4 of the lawn and replaced it with native plantings. I am looking for a native tree to replace a tree that we had to rem...
view the full question and answer

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