Moving conifers

cococo(7 Nashville)April 20, 2014

I have read all the previous posts regarding moving conifers and have some more questions.First of all I would rather leave them than risk killing them.We are downsizing as seventy acres is too much.My realtor said I should dig up what I want to keep as once potential buyers see them they will want them to go with the house.I know it is not good to dig up while they are budding out. I can wait until end of May when we have torrential downpours and the ground is wet.The new shoots should be fully out by then as they are budding now.I want to hold them in the shade in pots until this house sells.Any and all advice would be appreciated.Thanks

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first.... decide what can be had for a relatively good price ... and plan a budget to buy them when you are read to plant them at the new place ... and have them mailed there in fall

second ... then decide what is left that is to die for and must be taken ... and be very realistic about that ... there should not be more than a few that are of easily oved size ...

third.. whatever you take.. you will have to put the house back together long before you can ever plant these.. and to do it mostly right.. you would target the fall planting season.. which means a lot of pots hanging around ... but it would be easier to handle those.. that a lot of transplants in the ground ...

4th.. rethink all the above.. lol.. and just plan a budget ... and abandon them ...

i moved 1650 potted hosta.. i thought i couldnt live w/o ... i should have really rethought that ... lol...

and dont forget.. that you will have to talk with the people moving the household goods.. about all those extra pots ... or you are going to have to do it... while packing a house .... it took me something like 4 months to pot the hosta... luckily it took longer to sell the house ....

all sentiment aside.. be extremely realistic about this ...


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:49AM
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Some conifers endure the move better then others.

What are you wanting to move? How big are they?


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:16AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Where ever you move to, think about the soil. Find the soil type characteristics. You probable are aware of this already, but even tree/plant people forget to consider soil when moving, or think "I'll just work with it". As someone with lots of clay, I would suggest to anyone they rethink that ideal. Also living in a very cold Valley prone to extreme late freezes (got to 18F just last week on the 15th), consider micro-climate.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:39PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Unless you have access to a tree spade or are moving very small plants, I can't imagine you would successfully move many conifers at this point.
I believe that south of the Mason-Dixon, almost everything should be moved in the fall. The exception might be camellias or anything considerably more tender. Of course, this was the 1 on 20 winters where that might not have worked out. But generally speaking it's a lot easier to keep a plant stabilized in winter than in summer. My most ambitious moves have gone successfully in fall. OTOH, I've failed several times moving things in spring.

The largest plant I've moved was a 8' Abies firma that had been in a spot 2 years after being planted...had grown from about 6' to 8'. Then I decided that spot was not good for it. So, yes, it wasn't deeply rooted, but, OTOH, it had just gotten settled. I'm sure it would have died if I'd tried to do it the following spring.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:10PM
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cococo(7 Nashville)

Thank you for all of the replies and advice.I am considering all of the above.luckily many are small and have been in the ground less than two years. I am only moving ten minutes away so preparing the beds ahead of time is very realistic ,plus two teenage sons. Is there any one type that takes being moved better than others. I have some min pines and picea I don't want to leave. My biggest challenge is a five foot picea gold drift that this is its second spring. I really don't want to leave that one,but will if forum members believe it will kill it.They are all on raised beds with super soft soil.That is also what they would be moved too.I also don't want to leave larix lulu.My plan would to move the end of May when the ground here is very wet.Since I am in tn they are all putting out shoots now.all advice welcomed.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:32PM
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We have just transplanted four dwarf alberta spruce. They are about two to three years old if that makes any difference. I had read somewhere that they should be watered two to three times a week depending on rain for the first month or two. Do you have any input on this matter? Would appreciate any comments. Keep in mind that we are on Cape Cod and have, as do all Cape Codders, very sandy soil

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:56PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Cococo, if you were doing this a month or even 3 weeks ago, I'd say all had a good chance of moving well. You still may be ok, but late April in Nashville is pretty late for transplanting. If it were me, I'd move them real quick. Start with the 'Gold Drift'. We're having a cold front drop down on us starting tomorrow. Hopefully it makes it down to you.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:05PM
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cococo(7 Nashville)

Thanks.will do.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:44PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

do you know how to ball and burlap ... does you soil allow such.. unlike my sand???

can you provide any type of shade ...

i ask .. might it be better to BB them.. and throw them into pots ... and put the pots in shade until fall.. and replant in that season ...

the base concern.. in my world.. is the total disturbance of the root masses ability to pump water ... during the heat of summer... just a few weeks after bud out ...

so... like dave.. if you could rig up some shade ... i think you push the odds of success in your favor ...

but doing that across a whole garden can become problematic.. perhaps ending up spending more money on supplies .. than the plants are worth ...

so whats the alternative ... i see two ... and neither involves planting them in sun in the garden ..

either pot them ... a BB with wood chips filling the pot around the native soil .... and stored in shade until planting time .. like i have seen in many nurseries ...


getting a few yards of mulch dumped in a shady spot at the new place ... and nestling the BB or pots into about a foot or two of mulch [so as to cover the pots in toto] ... just like i see at every other good nursery ... do you know what i mean ...

i like to say ..... just because you buy it.. that does not mean it the proper planting season .. i collect plants all summer long.. but i dont plant in mid june thru august ... the same idea applies here ...

besides... if you move.. you will need a few weeks to settle into the house ... etc.. and you dont really need some overwhelming garden project.. that needs TLC to distract you ...

i really think it can be done... but you need to get your head out of the idea.. that you will be designing and creating a new garden scheme.. in a few weeks..

either of the options above.. allow you to get what you want.. hold them over properly.. and then.. at your leisure.. make a garden plan.. and plant them when it is proper planting time ...

the key is full bright shade.. IMHO ... and complete water management ...

make any sense ...

BTW: if the sale of the new house is complete... you might be able to do this before you move in.. upon closing, and discussing such at the closing .... i moved a 1000 pots to the new house.. even though i was not taking possession for a few weeks ... the sellers thought i was insane.. lol ... but they wanted my money ... what could they say...????


ps: i dont understand the dwarf alberta spruce question above [i do now.. keep reading] ... nor its relevance to this topic ... if bru wishes comments on their project.. then they should make their own post... rather than ask here.. upon checking.. i see you are new to GW ... and i welcome you ... and hope you will do such, with an appropriate title .... as i am sure.. other peeps are doing the same.. and would like to know ... but the answer is.. watering is an art.. not a science.. so there are no schedules .. and if you want that deciphered.. new post ... see you there...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:25AM
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cococo(7 Nashville)

Thenks for the advice.i will read up on ball and burlapping. I. am thinking I might get lucky and this house won't sell until fall than no problems.The new house is empty so will have time to prepare beds.All rock and clay here so I see dump trucks of good dirt in my future.thanks for all of the advice.And yes,there is areas of good shade there .

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:59AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

except how to hold them over

sharpen your shovel first

and do note.. mine hadnt budded out ..

and no.. i havent updated the pic of this plant ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:10AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

You might consider potting them in root-pruning pots for the summer rather than planting them out. That would give you the option of moving them around to shadier locations etc if need be, or put them in a temp berm etc. Would also give you time to get everything in order for you and the plants before fall planting. I have returned many plants to root pruning pots, or delayed planting for the first growing season with the new arrivals kept in pruning pots until fall. This has worked very well for me, and my climate is not so different from yours. FWIW, if it were me, I would be moving them into pots ASAP. See link if you need a source.


Here is a link that might be useful: Root pruning pots.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:20AM
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