Root ball size for transplanting a 5 ft camellia

dwpc(8a - N Arizona)December 30, 2004

I have 5 ft Camellia that has to be moved. Its the right time for it here in So Cal. I know they are shallow rooted but am unsure how wide and deep to cut the root ball. I have to move it by myself so the smaller the better; its in heavy clay. I plan to root prune it now then move it in a few weeks while its still dormant; please advise if the root pruning before moving is is unnecessary. Thanks.

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CamelliaJim(Z9CA)

I don't think the root pruning is necessary, but it wouldn't hurt. Still, try and take as much root ball as you can manage by yourself with or without the root pruning.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 5:40PM
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didgeridoo(z7 SC)

Root pruning now probably wont help much unless you allow the camellia time to create new feeder roots closer to the trunk which you can then include in the rootball when transplanting. Id probably try to get an 18" - 24" diameter rootball if it is manageable. A shovel with a long blade such as a trenching shovel will probably work best. It is best to face your shovel away from the trunk and sink it vertically in the ground around the entire circumference of the rootball. Place your foot on the rootball as you remove the shovel to avoid unnecessarily disturbing it and potentially fracturing it. If you encounter any large roots, dig back beyond the rootball and prune with loppers or a saw.

After you have severed all of the roots around the rootball, sink your shovel in again, this time angled toward a center point beneath the camellia at about a 45 degree angle. Do this around the entire circumference of the rootball. Gently use the shovel to loosen up the rootball and it should pop right out in one solid mass. Move the plant by the rootball (not the trunk) onto a piece of burlap or cloth and bundle tightly wrapping with thick twine. If you try to move a large rootball without securing it in burlap/etc., you risk it breaking apart which will cause unnecessary stress on the plant. Prune away any unnecessary branches/leaves to reduce stress, and remove the majority of flower buds to minimize the plants energy expenditure.

or.....rent a tree spade and save your back. ;)

good luck,
-christian m.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 9:40PM
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Ron_B

Dig carefully. I'm not sure I've ever gotten a long-established specimen of these sparsely-rooted plants to move successfully.

Yes: there would be no point in cutting the roots and then lifting the plant mere weeks later. If anything, it might be detrimental, since it might have had just enough time to start making new roots, only to have these be lost in the move.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 12:22AM
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