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eevans

Moving a mule

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eevans

After a change in plans, I have to transplant my new mule palm across the yard. I got it from Erik last March as a 3-gallon, and planted it in the ground last April. Since then it has stretched up to about 3 feet of leaves. I plan to move it this April, so it will have been in the ground for 12 months.

My question is:  Do I need to do anything special when moving it?  

I was planning to just make sure I got a large ball of dirt around it, and avoid damaging roots as much as possible - which is what I've done a hundred times with other woody plants. But I know palm roots are different.

IMG_20160214_114429.jpg

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Ben in Norcal

In my experience, mules move pretty well, but they do slow down a bit while recovering.  Why not move it now, before it really starts growing?

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DoomsDave

Move now!

Put on your disco records if you have to.

Well, maybe not THAT.

But, they usually move easy, the season is starting. So, move move move.

Try to get a bit rootball.

If yuo can't stick it in a pot first, let it re-root then replant.

and!

Keep us apprized!

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eevans

Thanks, good to know!

I can't plant it in its new location until after new bed retainers are installed as part of some hardscaping work I'm having done.

But I guess I could dig it up and put it into a big temporary pot.  Spring weather is already here and I'm afraid it will wake up any day now.

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redbeard917

I'm no expert, but wouldn't it be better to wait until its final location is ready, even if the timing isn't great, rather than potting it up and planting later, because the latter would mean disturbing the roots twice?

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Ben in Norcal
8 hours ago, redbeard917 said:

I'm no expert, but wouldn't it be better to wait until its final location is ready, even if the timing isn't great, rather than potting it up and planting later, because the latter would mean disturbing the roots twice?

No expert here, but I'd rather execute the out of ground dig prior to the growing season.  I'd think disruption from pot to ground should be more minimal.

Probably six of one, half a dozen of the other though.

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eevans

I went ahead and dug it up. Spring is already here - even my bananas are sprouting new leaves already. I figured I'd get it now, before the other plants around it started to grow back and made the job even more complicated.

I got a pretty good rootball, and put it in a slightly oversized old pot. I'll update once I actually get it into its final spot (still waiting on contractors...).

mule.jpg

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Ben in Norcal

Good job.  Bananas have started to push here too!

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NorCalKing

The bananas are on the move early this year over here too. Had a frost blanket over it this winter and it looks like the way it did last fall when covered. Should be a good year!

Edited by NorCalKing
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eevans

Yard work finally got done, and I was able to put the little fellow into his new home. Plenty of sun, and plenty of room to stretch up and out.

mule2.jpg

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Ben in Norcal

Nice job. That's a great looking mule.

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eevans

Update, about 18 months later. Trunk has about doubled in height. Longest leaves are up to over 6 feet at the top.

It's a stretchy fella.

mule.jpg

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eevans

Another 16 months, another couple of feet of trunk, and much longer leaves. No freeze damage these past two winters.

And yes, the neighbor's garage has also grown taller.

mule042019.jpg

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eevans

Only 6 months later, but this thing is erupting, almost hurling itself at the sky.

mule201910.jpg

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GottmitAlex

Just beautiful!

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DAVEinMB
7 hours ago, eevans said:

Only 6 months later, but this thing is erupting, almost hurling itself at the sky.

mule201910.jpg

Wow, that is beautiful! Can't wait for mine to look like that! :greenthumb:

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eevans

Another 8 months - this photo is from today. 

I'm still surprised at how fast this thing is growing. The tips of the newest leaves are at eye level from my 2nd-floor window. These new leaves are at least 10 feet long, which is way more than I expected. Good thing it isn't up against a house, or under any trees or aerial lines.

I had a jelly palm (Butia) in that same spot for over twenty years and it never got this large.  This one I planted just 4 years ago, when it was not even 3 feet tall (see the May 2016 post above).

IMG_20200628_114814279_HDR.jpg

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Jan Jo

That's impressive Eric! I'm tempted to move my own mule seeing how much they spread out and how well they seem to accept being moved ;)

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eevans

I know it's only been a few months, but I'm posting this photo because it might be the last one showing the Mule looking good.  Unfortunately I just discovered a dead spear leaf emerging, though I have no idea why (see https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/65638-dead-spear-leaf-on-mule-palm/).  I have had other completely cold-hardy palms (pindos, windmills) start with this same symptom and then die over the following months, so I am assuming the worst.

It was fun while it lasted, though.

IMG_20201003_100547762.jpg

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Antti

Beautiful palm, many thanks for sharing pictures! Please continue.

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eevans

Sorry for the sad final post here, but as I noted on at https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/65638-dead-spear-leaf-on-mule-palm/, the mysterious bud rot has proved to be fatal.  I might be less bothered if I knew why this had happened (it was not from a freeze or any other damage to my knowledge).  But I'll probably try again, of course...

I kept posting pictures to this thread because I like seeing other peoples similar "growth progress" posts.  And also because this mule was by far the fastest growing palm I've ever planted. In 4 years it went from no trunk to about 6 feet of trunk, with leaves up to 10 feet long.  Just crazy fast, and beautiful the entire time, up to the beginning of this October when it pushed the dead spear leaf.

Last photo before the tree folks come to haul off the remains next week:

IMG_20201126_164113656.jpg

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necturus

Man, that sucks. Did you treat it with copper and/or hydrogen peroxide? I had a couple palms in one spot that did the same thing this year. It may have been too wet and humid in that area, but I'm still not sure. I want to transplant a large mule to that area, but this post worries me.

 

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Chester B

A real shame for sure, it was a beauty. I’m sure it will be sorely missed. 

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eevans
On 11/28/2020 at 5:56 PM, necturus said:

Man, that sucks. Did you treat it with copper and/or hydrogen peroxide? I had a couple palms in one spot that did the same thing this year. It may have been too wet and humid in that area, but I'm still not sure. I want to transplant a large mule to that area, but this post worries me.

Yes, I treated the bud with alternating peroxide drenches and copper fungicide treatments several times over a few weeks, but it was evidently too late.

Austin is not especially wet, but I'm guessing that soil moisture might have contributed. This mule was planted in a bed that has a soaker hose that I run for around an hour, every couple of weeks during the summer (which is typically very hot and dry here).  The soaker is really there for some of the other plants farther away, but I don't think this palm needed any of that supplemental water. 

Also, there is a thick layer of clay (and I mean pure clay - like potter's clay) not too far below our topsoil, which also has clay mixed into it.  If we have a rainy winter or spring it will suck up a lot of water and just hold it there until temperatures rise again.  We did have a wetter than usual spring this year, so maybe that contributed.

I'll probably try again with another mule next spring, but this time I'll make sure it is in a location with very well-drained soil, probably amended with decomposed granite, maybe elevated up a bit - and I won't have a soaker hose running anywhere near it!

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