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Jeremy Borum

Transplanted a 20ft king palm - alone!

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Jeremy Borum

This is a little niche community, and I thought this would amuse many of you here. I dug this tree out for a neighbor and planted it at my house almost entirely alone. I didn't want to wait 20 years, I wanted a palm tree right away.

The shovel and axe work I did alone. Once it was tipped over I pulled it out the rest of the way with my truck. I dragged it over to the truck, tipped it mostly into place, and a gardener helped me get the root ball up. Back at home I was alone. With a great deal of effort I was able to wheel it around on a dolly, but it was HEAVY! I used some auto ramps to wheel the root ball up closer to the top of my pot, and after several false starts I was able to get it up the ramp with a running start.

After a lunch break and a couple beers I managed to get the root ball over the pot and hefted the thing upright. I held it there with 2x4s temporarily, and used ratcheting tie straps to adjust the position of the base until it was centered in the pot. I then moved the straps up the tree a few feet and used them to balance and secure the tree to anchors in the pot. That way the tree could stay secure and balanced while the roots established. Shoveling soil felt wonderfully easy after wrestling this monster!

I planted some baby king palms around it to hedge my bet a bit. And sure enough, the big palm died within a few months. Palms suffer from root shock quite a bit, and I was not able to be kind to it or retain a rootball with soil. Oh well... it looked good for a little while! Now I need to wait 20 years for the 6 little ones.

9 months later, now my little ones are suffering also.  That's why I found this site, and I'll make a separate post for that problem. This one is just for a giggle. It was a nice idea, and I thought well executed, but it was a LOT of work for nothing.

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JLM

Have you fertilized and watered them regularly? That could be why the small ones are suffering.

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joe_OC

Welcome to PT.  Yeah...transplanting king palms is not an easy, especially when you do not have a rootball.  Kings do not like their roots disturbed.  You can easily get a them to grow fast here in Southern California.  Should not take more than 10 years to have a king palm with 10-15' of trunk.  

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palmsOrl

I always remembered that the conventional wisdom is that King palms resent transplanting once trunking size.  Is this the whole genus, or just kings in particular?

That is why I was surprised that this, which is likely an Archontophoenix, did so well after yanking it from the ground when it was in such a sorry state to begin with.

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GottmitAlex

The whole genus.

They are overly sensitive when it comes to their roots.

Majesty palms, on the other hand, don't have any trouble with transplants or even separating doubles/triples.

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Jeff985

Last year I moved and decided I didn’t want to leave my kings (a. Cunninghamiana) behind. I had read they don’t like being dug up but tried it anyway thinking if I got a big enough root ball maybe they would survive. One was dead after two months. The other one is still alive but doesn’t seem happy. Hoping it snaps out of it. It still pushing new growth. 

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