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DoomsDave

Transplanting from earth to pot - thoughts and experiences?

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DoomsDave

Montengro's excellent thread about digging palm babies and potting them inspired this one.

In my time, I've planted too many (sometimes, way too many) of some palm, to realize later that it was a mistake. Sometimes years later. Sometimes, alas, the best thing is to harden your heart and do chain saw or lopper therapy and just remove the "extras."

Other times, it makes sense to at least consider digging up a palm of suitable size and sufficient rarity and repotting and re-homing, to someone you hope will be a bit more careful than you.

Here's a report on my basic experiences, including good and bad results. The rest of you are strongly urged to jump in and share. Particularly if you disagree, and who knows? Maybe I'll learn something.

Unlike a ground-to-ground transplant, near-continental size rootballs, which muscle-men (and -women) with big cranes recommend, aren't an option. All of the plants were moved with small rootballs, i.e., small enough to shoehorn into a 15 or 20 gallon pot, maybe a 24" box.

 

DYPSIS ONILAHENSIS "DROOPY"

Once upon a time I planted about 10 of these in the ground, mostly from one-gallons. All grew great, but I wanted some room for other things. So, I dug a couple up with relatively small rootballs and stuck them in 10 and 15 gallon tubs, kept in the shade, watered, and prayed.

And, lo! They survived and thrived without a problem. I eventually dug out most of them, and, eventually, sold them. If you bought one, let me know how it's doing. I hope okay. If not, that's important too.

 

COCOTHRINAX BARBADENSIS/DUSSIANA

Once again, 10 plants too many, and once again, dug a small rootball, stuck in pots. And, once again, success! No deaths.

 

TRACHYCARPUS WAGNERIANUS

I went yeti-poop and planted too many, and dug up all of them, six. Of these, one died, three have been sold and I still have two.

 

AFTER DIGGING CARE

Move the pot into the shade, keep moist, but not sodden, and most important, make sure the evil Santa Ana Wind doesn't hit them. Pack the dirt hard in the pot so water stays in and has time to soak the soil and stay long enough for the plant to drink it. If you get the rushing river syndrome after watering, pack in more dirt, repeat, till problem is fixed.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

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DoomsDave

ALAS, TALES OF SORROW

Dypsis baronii, Beccariophoenix alfredii, Trachcarpus martianus, Parajubaea tor tor, all croaked. The tor tors were too big, but had to try.

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Fusca

Sounds exactly like what I have done during one of my many moves - mostly with smaller 7-10 gallon sized palms.  When I have moved to a different city (like this past July) I ended up renting a place for 4-6 weeks before purchasing another house and kept the containers in shade (and off of concrete) before ultimately replanting in the ground.  I don't recall any losses from doing this.  :)  Any moves of larger palms would wait until I had a yard to put them directly into.

Jon

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DoomsDave
22 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Sounds exactly like what I have done during one of my many moves - mostly with smaller 7-10 gallon sized palms.  When I have moved to a different city (like this past July) I ended up renting a place for 4-6 weeks before purchasing another house and kept the containers in shade (and off of concrete) before ultimately replanting in the ground.  I don't recall any losses from doing this.  :)  Any moves of larger palms would wait until I had a yard to put them directly into.

Jon

What kinds of plants?

This is valuable stuff!

Thanks for responding!

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Fusca
4 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

What kinds of plants?

This is valuable stuff!

Thanks for responding!

Happy to share!  A small butia odorata (from seed - 7 gal), washingtonia filifera (from seed - 7 gal), butiagrus (10 gal), elaeis guineensis (from seed - 5 gal), chamaerops humilis var cerifera (10 gal), acrocomia aculeata (from seed - 5 gal).  These were all successes.  I do now recall a couple of failures:  sabal minor Louisiana (3 gal), sabal mexicana (10 gal).  I believe these failures resulted from slight rootball damage and would have died regardless since I have read where many have had difficulties transplanting young sabals.  They both appeared fine for a couple of months but then slowly deteriorated.

Some non-palm successes: loquat, grapefruit, lemonquat (sunquat), calamondin, hibiscus coccineus, (all 3-5 gal from seed), cycas revoluta (from seed - 7 gal).

Jon

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DoomsDave
25 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Happy to share!  A small butia odorata (from seed - 7 gal), washingtonia filifera (from seed - 7 gal), butiagrus (10 gal), elaeis guineensis (from seed - 5 gal), chamaerops humilis var cerifera (10 gal), acrocomia aculeata (from seed - 5 gal).  These were all successes.  I do now recall a couple of failures:  sabal minor Louisiana (3 gal), sabal mexicana (10 gal).  I believe these failures resulted from slight rootball damage and would have died regardless since I have read where many have had difficulties transplanting young sabals.  They both appeared fine for a couple of months but then slowly deteriorated.

Some non-palm successes: loquat, grapefruit, lemonquat (sunquat), calamondin, hibiscus coccineus, (all 3-5 gal from seed), cycas revoluta (from seed - 7 gal).

Jon

Ohh oohh oohh etc.

I have a Chamaerops humilis "gimpy" that needs removal and placement in a new location.

How long before it rooted in?

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Fusca

It took probably 3-4 months - it went from container to the ground this past December and I didn't see any new growth until April.  It had some suckers that I had left on the trunk and a couple of the suckers died off after the transplant which I thought was odd.  The main plant didn't show any problems - only a few of the suckers.

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DoomsDave
2 minutes ago, Fusca said:

It took probably 3-4 months - it went from container to the ground this past December and I didn't see any new growth until April.  It had some suckers that I had left on the trunk and a couple of the suckers died off after the transplant which I thought was odd.  The main plant didn't show any problems - only a few of the suckers.

Ah, bet some extra heat would have helped. Might stick mine in the greeny house.

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Fusca

I agree.  My last two moves have not been timed well for palm transplants - late December and mid August!  :wacko:  LOL  I transplanted a 25-gal livistona chinensis this past August in an area that had some afternoon shade.  In about 10 days the angle of the sun shifted (didn't consider that!) and it took some serious sunburn.  I was too busy with getting the stuff done inside the house to notice or I would have purchased some shade cloth much sooner than I did!

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TexasColdHardyPalms

From my experience these three things will dramatically increase the mortaillity of dug palms, small or large.  

1. make sure the palm is well watered beforehand and healthy

2. Once dug make sure the rootball stays moist in the pot at all times

3. Move the plant to heavy shade (may not be that important in PNW where it stays cool and cloudy all summer) and do not move into fuller sun until it has started to regenerate roots and is showing a good pace of spear growth.

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DoomsDave

Where are you guys?

I know some of you have moved from earth to pot.

Josh-o, how about you?

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Josh-O

I have dug soooo may palms with excellent success this last couple years using the methods below

There are lots of theories to being successful but the #1 factor  to keeping your palm alive is a big root ball. here is what I do before and after a dig.

 

#1 water the palm thoroughly at least 2 days prior to the dig

#2 dig a big root ball (some times you just need to bite the bullet and get some help since root balls can be heavy)

#3 root prune any visibly ripped roots after the palm has been dug

#4 if you are digging a tap root plant, cauterizing with a blow torch is a must

#5 I remove as much garden soil as possible. Garden soil usually does not drain well in pots and can cause root rot

#6 as soon as I pot it up or plant it in the ground I always do a mixture of fungicide, B1, liquid kelp and super thrive in the form of a drench (I repeat every 4-5 days)

#7 I usually cut of a few lower branches and any flowers to keep the palm from dehydration depending on species

 

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