By in Gardening

Transplanting an oak tree is sometimes a challenge

I found a tiny oak tree that was smack dab in the middle of my flower bed. I had to dig it up so I could make room for some sweet potatoes.

It was easy but after I placed that tiny oak tree in a pot of dirt, it had a bad case of transplant shock. this is not unusual, so I figured, I need to water it well and see how it looks later on that evening. So, after I came back to take a look at it, that baby oak was beginning to perk back up.

The next day I went out back to water the beds as it had gone up to about 90 degrees that afternoon. To my displeasure, the baby oak was drooping and the leaves looked like they all but withered completely.

I knew that not only the high the day before it reached a temperature of about 90 degrees but today it was cooler, somewhere in the upper 50s. That might be the reason for the oak tree look so bad. I decided I would at least try to keep it alive and hope that, after watering it along with the rest of the backyard plants and seed beds, hopefully, by tomorrow morning the oak will be back to normal. If not, I will have to try planting something else in that pot.

Transplant shock, as it is called, happens to small plants, when they have been removed from a small pot to be placed in a larger pot or other container. Sometimes plants can appear to wilt and almost die, but appearances can often fool you. I will check that little pin oak tree tomorrow. If it does survive, I will move the pot out of direct sunlight and place that 5 gallon pot to a shaded area. If it grows within a year to a good size I will offer it to the parks and recreation department. If they need a good pin oak for their landscaping project, maybe this baby oak will one day grow to full size.

We absolutely have no room for another oak in our back yard, but there are areas that could stand more shade and the oak tree does provide lots of shade and is good for the natural habitat. It provides shade for us humans, a place for birds to nest and perch, and offers many acorns for the local squirrels. So it's a win-win if I manage to get a few little oak trees growing in small pots, just to make them available to someone who might actually need a good shade tree for their property.

I know for one thing, an oak tree adds beauty and value to residential property and all trees are good to take in carbon dioxide and give back breathable oxygen in return. So there are only good reasons to plant more trees. What trees are your favorite?

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VinceSummers wrote on April 13, 2019, 8:08 AM

How many trees do you have in Texas? My 5 acre property I once owned on the other side of the county had a large variety. Linden, Oak (a variety), Cherry Birch, Hickory, Tulip Poplar, Black Gum, Black Locust, Sassafras, Paulownia, Beech, Cucumber Magnolia, Boxelder, dogwood, red maple, sugar maple... I can't think of anything else. And thank goodness, no pine! In fact, no evergreen trees.

There are right many varieties of oak. I think of pin oak, post oak, willow oak, southern red oak, bear oak, live oak (we don't have those), black oak... Can't think of any others of those now, either. But I'm not a superfan of oak. It's fine. I like it. But some here want ONLY oak. That's not my feeling. They view it as mere firewood. However, the best firewood is Osage Orange!

MegL wrote on April 13, 2019, 9:27 AM

What a great idea - offering the local parks a native grown tree. Often transplant shock can be because a lot of the little roots get damaged in the move. With a tree, you could put it in water to keep it hydrated until the roots have recovered, then plant it.

lookatdesktop wrote on April 13, 2019, 7:40 PM

I goofed. Thanks. I will try a few more times and hopefully get better results.

lookatdesktop wrote on April 13, 2019, 7:42 PM

Wow! That is a good variety of trees for 5 acres. I guess I have become partial to the pin oak because my wife planted it as a child and now it is huge, after all the years. I appreciate you for sharing this information. And thank you for that link.

MegL wrote on April 14, 2019, 8:25 AM

It's no goof. Some trees have very wide-spreading roots, others have roots that stay in a large ball. The more root you can take with a tree when you dig it up, the more likely it is to survive. That's why when people try to transplant a big tree, they need to dig up a BIG lot of ground around it and take as much of the original soil as possible. If you have a choice, moving trees is best done in winter, when they are less active. Some trees also need a particular fungus present in the soil to thrive, so even if you put them in a bucket of water to help keep them hydrated, you still need to use some of the original soil when planting them, so they get to keep their special fungus.

lookatdesktop wrote on April 15, 2019, 9:05 PM

Okay, thank you. I will try to get another one going and do better at taking more of the root with some of the original soil before attempting my next transplant.