how to transpalnt a conifer/tree -- huge pix post

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5February 8, 2010

most of all.. timing is the utmost consideration ...

in my z5.. as soon as the ground thaws.... 6 to 8 weeks before bud burst and the heat of summer....

or basically october .... when the other trees are in full color.. most all trees are dormant.. or darn close enough ...

the plant was sold as Abies procera x Abies koreana .. gee's tree farm ...

ken

and then i added 4 to 6 inches of mulch over the whole bed... about 2 - 3 inches in the moat ...

good luck

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sprucebud

Very interesting. Thank you. What a beautiful looking day as well ...!
Richard

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 10:34AM
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bunkers(z5 CO)

Ken, very nice pictorial of how it should be done. You soil looks real nice compared to Colorado. I thought you weren't supposed to stomp on the backfill? But I admit to lightly tapping it down myself, just not compacting it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 11:47AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Nice presentation Ken. You got it right...IMHOP.

I did something similar 2 years ago with a 'Hoopsii' only the root ball probably weighed 200 lbs.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 11:53AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the plant was moved april 17 2009 .. last year ...

so i personally have 2 months for such a nice day ...

in my sand.. i am a stomper .... prior to water ... you can NOT over-compact mineral sand ... my plants do not fall over... nor are they staked unless over 4 feet or so.. and i dont really move things of that size ....

i would NOT do that after water.. or i would make cement ...

ken

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 12:37PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

dave - mine was a ridiculously huge Vanderwolf's - rootball of 300 lbs plus. two of us did the job by dragging/shoving/cussing it on a tarp...we must've been mental. lol

ken, very nice pictoral directions. happy to see you're still around here! i barely recognize anyone anymore (who am i, again?? :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 9:37PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bump .. i have a gut feeling this topic is going to be repeating as spring thaws ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 3:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bump me up scotty

i have a feeling this will be helpful at this time of year

ken

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:36AM
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firefightergardener(7/8)

Let's re-bump this by the way because this is a great combination of effort and good information for many new gardeners planting trees and/or conifers.

My own planting practices vary slightly in that I usually dig a smaller hole(lack of surrounding space often) and that my soil is so rock-filled, a maddox-axe is usually the best way to dig.

-Will

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

spring is coming.. plans are being drawn ... time to bump this one up ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:25AM
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pcan

Excellent information! Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 9:07PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Ken, do you use superphosphate when you plant/transplant?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 9:16PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

NEVER>> EVER>> ADD ANYTHING TO THE PLANTING HOLE .... even in my mineral sand ...

UNLESS A SOIL TEST INDICATES something is lacking ... and i would not rely on local hearsay for suggestions.. been there.. done that.. paid the price ...

trees love sand ... i suspect its all about drainage ... and if you look about any open space.. you will come to the conclusion that trees can FIND what they need without any help from us ... including our inclination to FEED OUR BABIES ... save your money for more plants ...

severe clay would be the only exception ... but i will not discuss that here.. since it has been covered elsewhere so many time that i want to puke.. lol ... like some old posted titled something like.. HOW TO PLANT IN CLAY SOIL ...

anyway ... have a great day

ken

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i found my old post .. check out the link for thoughts regarding clay ..

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:07AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bumping up this post .. before it disappears into GW eternity ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:43AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Ken, why do you flood the planting hole? Wouldn't that compress the soil and disrupt the texture? Perhaps its fine with sand. Sorry if I missed it in your post.

People will probably shake a finger at me but I just take a drain spade shovel and angle in around the rootball. I don't have time to remove all that soil surrounding the rootball. That only comes in handy if you are moving a very large rootball (IME and IMO). It must work as I've yet to lose one of my own transplants.

I'm just playing devil's advocate since you bumped this for newbies.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey will ...

i said.. somewhere above:

"in my sand.. i am a stomper .... prior to water ... you can NOT over-compact mineral sand ... my plants do not fall over... nor are they staked unless over 4 feet or so.. and i dont really move things of that size ....

i would NOT do that after water.. or i would make cement ... "

===>>> i flood the hole [3 times actually].. IN MY SAND ... because it will drain away within minutes.. leaving a perfectly damp soil [and that includes not just the disturbed soil around the planting.. but also the soil around the actual hole dug] ... that will not need to be watered again ... presuming good mulch.. until the real heat of summer hits in later july ...

you HAVE TO KNOW.. how water moves thru the soil in your garden ... and the only way to do that.. would be to dig some holes.. for no other reason.. than to fill them with water.. and watch and time.. how long it takes to drain ...

we can spend hours speculating about a 3rd party soil.. but until you do it yourself ... in your garden.. in your soil... who knows how it all works ... but the equation.. in my mind ends up that water management and aftercare [proper watering] .. is 95% of the battle to success ... root issues being the other 5% ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 8:49AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

better bump this one up.. before it falls into obscurity ..

ken

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:31AM
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hogmanay

I just like looking at that soil.

So strange to me. All we have around me is hard, red clay. If you dig a "hole" it becomes clay pot! Nice shallow saucers work. Anyway. Nice dirt!!!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:46AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

I've been looking at that soil, too! Definitely different from our soil - on our 12 acre property, we've got 6 different soil types, varying from poorly drained clay loam to well-drained silty clay loam, to chocolate-colored bottomland silt. All loam around here, I haven't seen too much heavy clay except where there's been excavation or construction. I live in the Tipton Till Plain, where Miami-Crosby-Brookston soils dominate. Apparently, Miami soils are some of the most productive soils in North America - Unfortunately, we don't have much Miami soil on our property! What little there is grows excellent conifers, though - my best looking Fraser fir is on a slight North slope in Miami silt loam.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:36PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

time to bump this up ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:40AM
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greendale(6B)

Why did not I see this thread one month ago. I planted 12 emerald green arb. Those arbs come with a clay rootball and my soil is sandy. I immerge the rootball in a bucket of water before I plant it. But now some of them are browning - not a very good sign. Also, they were planted on my property line with a little slope to the street, so when I water, most water will drain to the street, how should I make the soil surface around the tree so that the tree get the most of water?

Thanks
Greendale

This post was edited by greendale on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 9:57

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:54AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Take a screwdriver (or something like that) and aerator the clayball. Go slowly. If you encounter resistance its likely a larger root. Move an an inch and try again.

Water will fill the holes and penetrate the ball. Its one of the only ways with a dry clay rootball.

If you're seeing browning in the interior and the ends/exterior are still green that is normal in the fall for arbs and pines. They shed interior needles this time of year.

If its the exterior perhaps too much water? They like well drained soil just as much as pines and firs. How long did you soak the rootball?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:23AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

greendale.. welcome ...

first.. glad you found us ...

second .... start your own post.. and add a few pix.. words arent good enough to really help you ... as whaas noted... interior yellowing/browning is NORMAL... and increased by transplant ...

third.. ALL BB plants are grown in clay ... its the only stuff that allows formation of the ball ...

4th ... you need to make the moats, as clearly??? indicated in my pix and teh attendant replies ... [you build up the down slope side until it is as high as the upslope side] ...... so you can hold the water in place.. well it soaks in ... sometimes in drought.. i will put the hose on a trickle for hours.. to get it to soak into my sand ... and the moat will hold it there ...

5th ... take a hand trowel.. and dig some 3 to 6 inch holes near the edges of the root mass you planted ...... and find out what is going on in there ... we can not really tell you what do do.. or how to deal with .... YOUR SOIL .... unless you give us some real hard facts ... every soil is different.. you need to learn how it all works in YOUR SOIL ... note key words there ....

i will be looking for your new post ... and some pix ...

ken

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:37AM
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ttonk(OH 6A)

I guess I should wait till next spring to plant any conifers. Do we do the same watering thing when planting conifers from store pots?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 10:05PM
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baxz5oh(5)

Ken: You seem to have omitted the "Driveway Treatment" in this post. lol.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 5:57AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i only throw hosta on the driveway ...

not trees and conifers ...

tonk ... study the link ... it should be basically the same info ...

this post is most important.. in regard to planting level.. on a hill ... so that water has a chance to soak in ....

in my sand.. potted stock in a high peat media ... can be a problem... as .. by august.. the sand can wick all moisture out of the peaty media .... and dry so completely.. it might never rewet ...

and that is why.. many of us.. completely bare root ALL stock ... besides looking for bad root systems ....

but you may not need to completely bare root things.. IF!!!! ... you have soil better than mineral sand ...

the sand is supreme as to drainage ... as compared to a clay soil which does not drain ... all is covered at the link ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 8:18AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Never ever flood a planting hole as shown once you've put the soil back. You severely disrupt the soil structure and will make a concrete like mix, especially clay soils.

Only very sandy soils will accomodate this and even then you're still disrupting the soil structure. You're basically siving the soil based on buoyancy of the various soil parts.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 8:48AM
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bernd ny zone5(5)

Ken, you did a perfect job.
I moved a 5 ft 'Hoopsie' a month ago. That no longer got enough light under a Korean dogwood. Digging around I found a long sidewards tap root which I had to cut. It was very heavy, could not put burlap around the roots, but moved a tarp and a plastic sled under it and pulled it over the street to my neighbor who planted it. He waters it every week, also put a burlap screen around it, so hopefully it will survive. Bernd

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 6:58PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

time to take a look at this one again

ken

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:17PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

When back filling a hole, I cave in the sides with my shovel rather than try to fill the cracks with soil. Then I push down sideways toward the rootball with my boot and then water it good. Then I fill in the small depression around the plant with mulch. The goal is to establish capillary action between the soil and root ball.
My soil varies a lot on a hilly ten acres but I prepare the soil by adding organic matter as deep as I can with my tiller, sometimes several years in advance and continually. The more water the soil holds, the more I contour it. I treat my whole place as a compost pile on a slope and if I need to water anything, it's always on the up slope side. I even put a top dressing of woodchips on my ground covers whenever I can.
Here's 'Honda The Tiller' with it's newly installed Klingon Cloaking Device. It isn't working 100% yet, but I've always had trouble with alien technology.
Mike...watching it rain all day.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 6:45PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Mike, are you describing a moat in the post above? It has me interested but can't say I interpreted it correctly.

Will...watching my conifers burn in the winter sun, lol.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:09PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Well, it looks like a shallow moat, but the ground is so porous with organic matter, it doesn't hold water for very long. I don't have to deal with much clay and I amend almost all the soil I plant in. With a rototiller and all the woodchips I can handle for over twenty years, it's not much of a problem as long as I can push a wheelbarrow.
Mike

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:49AM
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dreamgarden(z6)

It has been 4 years since this thread started.

Hey Ken, would it be possible to see how that little tree you posted the pic of is doing now?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:25AM
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DonK69

deleted

This post was edited by DonK69 on Wed, May 14, 14 at 17:39

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i still havent made it out there .. to get a new pic .... its about 6 foot now

ken

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 9:48AM
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plantkiller_il_5(5)

ken,I see you are sticking with GW/houzz ,,,me too

good original post,but you didn't show the lift from hole to garbage c. l.

that's when root ball falls apart,,,,,sometimes,I just wrap a wratchet/tie down strap around

talk to ya,ron

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 5:55PM
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beverlymnz4

Thanks Ken, Of the two conifers I'm moving this spring, one is quite small yet, so I can do it myself - its moving from my garden to my sister's (a birthday gift). The other is going to require some help, but is not going far - just 6 feet or so. I assume you put the plant in the burlap and then move the plant into the garbage can lid thereby minimizing the chance of the root ball falling apart. I don't have burlap but I have old cotton sheets that I could use to hold the root ball together. I assume you cut the burlap and remove it. Or do you try to slide it out? Old sheets can be cut.

Plantkiller, I'm not sure I understand the wratchet/tie down tip you gave. Would twine suffice?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 12:17PM
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plantkiller_il_5(5)

bev , twine probably works better than anything at tying wrapped root ball,,just a little time consuming,,,but worth it for big plant.

ken didn't show ball tied up,,has to do with stiffness of soil/rootball

try to cut away as much sheet as possible

I wrap strap around ball,,use wratchet to tighten whole thing up,,works for quick move

for epic transplant, see link

moving 16 ft norway

ron

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 6:02PM
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