Transplant Young Sabal Palmetto?

wilki(9b)November 11, 2012

Hi folks, new member here. Just moved from Fairfax, Virginia, to Ormond Beach, Florida. I've been clearing weeds and vines along the fence line and have discovered a young Sabal Palmetto growing next to the chain link fence. My plan is to install a wood privacy fence around the perimeter of the backyard, but I've read that these palms don't transplant well when they are this young. Any opinions on wether this might be worth the effort? I really like these palms and would like to save this little fella if it is possible. Thanks for any advice.

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If you don't mind digging 3-4' I think it will work.

They are tough and don't want to go anywhere.

Now if you had this it would be easy if you could stop laughing long enough.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I've transplanted a bunch of Sabal minors (which have the reputation of being hard to move, and kind of grow like a young S. palmetto) before with mixed results. I tried both cutting most of the leaves off and leaving most of the leaves on after digging them up and moving them. My best results have been with really small plants leaving most of the leaves on, and trying my best to get all of the roots. I think at this point your palm will have a pretty large bulb-like underground trunk, like a big S. minor. After digging up a few of the larger minors, I can tell you it is going to be a lot of back-breaking work to even come close to getting half of the roots undamaged, and if you damage the underground trunk (which may go 2 feet underground or more) it is game over. You are going to have to remove the fence, and slowly excavate around from the base of the plant until you start finding roots and following them out to their ends. Supposedly all damaged Sabal roots will die back to the main trunk, and a palmetto without at least a 6 foot trunk doesn't have the energy stores to grow new ones. So your goal will be to recover as many complete and undamaged roots as possible, enough to support the number of leaves you have left on the plant. You can cut a few leaves off before digging, but you are going to have to leave enough so the plant can produce enough energy to grow new roots and re-establish. Again, it is going to be a ton of work, to maybe only have it shrivel up and die. I would just leave it alone if you really want it to survive.... You can also decide what your time is worth, how much is at least a few hours of hard digging labor worth to you? You can just buy a small potted palmetto like that for 50 bucks if you look around, and plant it where you want. I also know around here a 10 ft trunked palmetto goes for $125, and another $100 to get it installed.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Jim and jfacendola. Thanks for the great information. Looks like this might be a losing proposition to attempt a transplant. There is also a thirty foot Palmetto just on the other side of the fence to factor into the equation, maybe three or four feet away. Quite a neglected jungle on the other side of the fence. I'm going to have to rethink my options on this one. Attached is a photo for more context. Thanks again, your help has been invaluable.

P.S. That Dyna-Diggr would have saved me a lot of time over the past 20 years.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Well we know who the mamma tree is...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:31PM
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That Momma has some serious vines crawling up to the crown. There is another Sabal Palmetto about 40 feet down the fence line on my side that was also smothered with vines. Must have pulled about 120 lbs of the potatoe sized vines tubers from around the base. It has a very nice booted trunk, as well as three younger Palmettos around the base.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:33AM
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great pics-hopefully you can leave it mentioned.

That shovel makes things to easy(-:

I remember getting my first chainsaw...pretty soon everything needs to be cut-they can be more fun than work!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:15AM
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