Transplanting sassafrass seedling

West Portsmouth, OH(Zone 6a)

I found an 8 to 10" sassafrass seedling today in close quarters, but I want to try to move it. I know they are difficult to transplant. I've already tried three of them and managed to keep one of them alive for over a year, but it finally gave up and croaked. Those three were over a foot and a half tall when I tried to save them, though. Since this one is so tiny, does anyone have any good advice, like soil conditions to keep it in when I move it, how deep to dig when I dig it up, etc? I've checked other web sites and they mention planting seeds. I have a gorgeous sassafrass tree, but I don't know what a seed even looks like. I'd collect the seeds if I knew. Any advice? Thanks, Jan

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

how do I get rid of sassafrass. it is growing all over my yard and driving me crazy.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6b)

The seeds are very showy right now. Deep, deep blue, almost purple, almost black. They only appear on female trees, so not all sassafras will exhibit fruit.

I think most people fail in transplanting sassafras because invariably they are trying to transplant a root sucker from a nearby tree. They dig up the "seedling" and get very few roots, mainly because at this stage there are very few roots to get. The sapling is still dependent on Mom's root system for most of its sustenance.

Guy and other's will correct me if I'm wrong (and relish every second of it! ;) ), but I think your best bet is to find the root the sapling suckers from, go back a good two feet or more towards the mother tree, and sever the root. Then wait a year. The sapling will respond to the severing of the umbillical root from mom by putting out more roots of its own, enabling greater likelihood of a successful transplanting a year forth. In the meantime, the sapling's own roots remain undisturbed and should be enough to sustain it.

If you do come upon fruit, remove the flesh from the hard seed thoroughly and plant in sand or seed mix in pots and then leave the pots outdoors all winter. Some seeds may germinate in the spring, or maybe not. If you get no germination the first year, you should get it the second year.


Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

While I'd add ketchup, mustard, and other condiments to the relish I'd normally take in mocking Scott......this time he's dead on with the recommendations.

I'd only add that sassafras can be propagated from root pieces. When you eventually make the effort to transplant your sassafras, take root pieces from all the digging you do (use ones that are about the diameter of a pencil or larger, and 12" long) and plant them in pots at about the horizontal depth that you dug them from. You should have new sprouts from these root pieces in the spring, and you can plant them out whenever you like what size they've attained.

Note: these will all be identical to the parent tree, since they are vegetatively propagated versus seed propagated.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6b)

Here's a picture of the fruit I took Tuesday in Shawnee State Park in Adams County, Ohio.


Thumbnail by Decumbent
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)


Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I see sassafras growing on the roadsides here but they never seem to be over 7ft tall, more like a shrub than a tree.

Tallahassee, FL

We dug roots and made tea when I was a kid. You could also buy a bag of chipped roots. Nowadays they say it is not safe to drink. Does anyone know why?

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

They discovered that one of the components of Sassafras was carcinogenic


Tallahassee, FL

I guess a taste now and then won't hurt. But actually, I haven''t had sassafras tea in about twenty years. The smell of a freshly snapped twig is divine, and never fails to fill me with whimsy. Oh, oh! I've been watching too much P. Allen Smith again.

Dahlonega, GA

Right on , Scott . That works on all the shrubs like azaleas too . I have to mark them with tape so I can find them in the woods when they go dormant , and dig to transplant .
I'm with Kevjean too . Here in north Georgia , they are native and an invasive pest . digger

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

kevjean wrote;"how do I get rid of sassafrass. it is growing all over my yard and driving me crazy"

Well, you could send them to me:). I bought some "seedlings" on ebay, and y'all are correct, they were obviously root suckers. One took off like a shot, and then the leaves died. Now it has small leaves again, but I don't hold out much hope.

If anyone has some seeds or seedlings they'd like to part with for profit, please let me know, I'll keep trying :(.

in case anyone is interested in why I want the trees, my interest is culinary.



Dahlonega, GA

Cat , your link renewed my taste buds for gumbo . I was married to a man that was from LakeCharles , and he didn't cook anything but gumbo . It was wonderful . I will now go out to the front yard and see how many trees have sprouted up since I pulled them up last week and harvest some. I probably will get enough from my neighbors trees in the woods next to my property to keep me in powder for awhile . I do have ex-dh recipe , will look for it ,also check to see what can be dug and mailed ,if any are small enough
I will be coming through Slidell this fall , I'll try to pot a small tree for you .

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Thanks digger, that would be great:).. I love gumbo, and bought several bottles of file when I (to my surprise) found it in a discount grocery store. I know it won't be the same, but it will be something. I do hope that at least one of the trees will survive, although it doesn't seem likely. I should have okra, though. It seems to be the only thing in my garden that wants to grow, even if it is kinda short.

And, should you feel the need to share that recipe, well, I would be very happy to try it, and report, just for the benefit of others, you understand *G*

Dahlonega, GA

I've been looking for that recipe , no luck so far , wonder if he took that too ? Grrrrr . That's another reason that he's my ex . lol , I'll keep looking . digger

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