Advice Needed Transplanting Large Crimson Queens

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Jeffrey711, Nov 27, 2022.

  1. Jeffrey711

    Jeffrey711 New Member

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    New member here. We are building a new house in the next year or two. We have several large Crimson Queen JM in our backyard that we would like to take with us. We’re also pulling 2 large Sagos, a smaller bloodgood, loquat, and 6 green JM that have broken through plastic nursery pots and rooted in the ground. It’s likely that we’ll keep the current house as rental and these specimens are worth way more at our new house than here.

    The two Crimson Queens are my biggest worry. The trunks are about 6” in diameter and spread is 6-8’. I would like to dig them up and pot them until the new home is ready for landscaping. Our soil is generally sandy (beach sand until 5’ down). Questions:

    1. the pots are going to need to be huge. I am considering using 100 gallon plastic watering troughs (about $100 each from tractor supply). Any other suggestions on what could be used?
    2. we will not be able to get digging equipment back to them, so this will be done manually. I do have the benefit of having teenagers and their friends who are strong athletic types. I’m good on time of year and how to give the trees the best shot at survival. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning Jeffrey and welcome to the maples forum.
    First of all, this is the ideal time to start planning the removal of your trees.
    Step one if your not moving for a couple of years is to dig a trench around the canopy line of your trees, then cut all the large roots back to just before the canopy line and if possible a little bit more to accommodate the roots into a manageable size pot. This will not harm your trees.
    Step two is to refill the trench with soil.
    This will encourage fine roots over the next year ready to lift and put in pots.
    Step three, is a good Spring prune to the branches, this will bring your trees back to a manageable size to remove or place in pots in Spring 2024 or Autumn 23.
    When you do get around to lifting and repotting another lighter root prune is advisable to enable them to be placed in a decent and manageable pot.
    Now looking at the size and probable age of your trees, the pots are still going to be big. But using this method they will be easier to manoeuvre.
    So my advice is to not lift them now, but to carry out a two year replanting method. It has worked well for me and many maple enthusiast friends over the past years.
     
  3. Jeffrey711

    Jeffrey711 New Member

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    Oh, great advice. I had read about this once. Basically trimming back the roots and letting them reestablish within the trenches area. Timing wise it is highly unlikely they would need to go to the new home in less than a year. So that works well. I will wait a few more weeks to get started as the leaves are just beginning to change (I’m lower end zone 8b, close to 8a, so most JM are just beginning or in full fall color).

    Much thanks!
     
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  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hope all goes well and do enjoy all the colour. I think the maples forum members would love to see a photo or two of your lovely trees.
     
  5. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The digging a trench to pre-cut the roots idea is a good one. You can also put a physical barrier in the trench as you backfill to help keep the roots back.

    It would be good to work out the weight of soil that your athletic group of volunteers could move and calculate the diameter of the root disk to keep accordingly. For a 6 inch diameter trunk you would ideally like to keep at least a 3 feet diameter root disk, but 4 feet would be better if they can physically move it. Normally JM roots are in the first foot or so of depth, but as your soil is sandy they may go a little deeper. In any case, as you are cutting under the root ball from the sides you will end up with a soil mass that is thicker in the centre than at the edge.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    No point in hand-pruning roots to encourage branching (of roots) and then cutting off the resulting branches later. In addition crown reduction has a dwarfing effect, just as root pruning (involving removal of previously formed outer root sections) does. I also wonder how much a weeping laceleaf maple can be whacked back before the crown structure is left permanently marred. Better to get a couple root-pruning containers of sufficient size if possible and grow them on in those. Start exploration of this topic at the Lacebark Inc. web pages of Carl E. Whitcomb. He's been an Inc. for some years but before that he was a university educator and researcher.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
  7. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    81C8EF79-CB0C-45F8-B6D9-9F416652EB98.jpeg
    This photo was taken in 2018 having dug this Crimson Queen up as it was getting toasted in July/August year on year..bit smaller than yours 4inch trunk at base..I took out a 30incb root ball.. it coped fine..my one still seems to get crispy even though only morning sun
     
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  8. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    Over the years we have dug out many mature cultivators for ourselves and former customers.
    Digging a trench prior to cutting as mentioned is good. Some pruning / shaping to taste is good to do after digging it out in case you damage / break a limb or two during the process.
    Once you have dug it out you can hose off the root system and then do a good root pruning as well. Make sure you do not remove the small fibrus roots that attach to the main thicker / solid roots that you have remaining. Cut it back so that it can fit into the storage pot you have on hand. Most important, only dig out during the absolute dormant season. You can then actually go into a small and manageable pot 20 - 30 gallon ( half an oak barrel for example) with good drainage.
    We have never used anything bigger then a half size oak barrel and we have transplanted some very old / larger specimens.

    Just make with the pots that you have good drainage, good porus soil, and water regularly once the new buds start appearing. Add a quality slow release fertilizer as well in spring. Let the roots develop and then just pop out of the pot and transplant. When you do this do NOT upset the roots at all, just drop into your new location. Ideal time frame would be the fall prior to entering dormancy.

    Place in a sheltered area if possible to protect from excessive winds that may upset the tree in the pot. Another thing we have done in more extreme situations is to dig a secure 2 metre post into the ground beside each re potted mature tree while it sits in the pot. Then tie the tree to the post for added stability.
     
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  9. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Not a maple, but that's how I uprooted a Larix that was in a very bad soil in the hottest place.

    After leaf-fall, I dug a circle, or hexagon (or was it a heptagon ? ;0)...) and filled the 30 cm wide, 40 cm deep "trench" with sand in late Autumn.

    In the spring, just before budbreak, I removed the tree.

    I suppose that for a tree that size, it's even easier for maples that don't have deep roots. 2008-2022 :

    mlz9406_080207.jpg mlz9406_080304b.jpg mlz9406_080331a.jpg mlz9406_080508.jpg mlz9406_120416a.jpg mlz9406_210211a.jpg mlz9406_220420a.jpg mlz9406_220420b.jpg

    Etc.
     

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  10. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    For tall potted trees I use long galvanised poles about 30mm thick set and tied at 45degrees to the trunk..bang one in so the exposed part sits behind the pot and you can’t see it..mind you the low and wide growing habit of Crimson Queen may mean this is unnecessary. My 30” to 3 foot composite cube pots with lots of flat stone in the bottom for crocks are going nowhere
     
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  11. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    I know acerholic along with a few others use galvanised hooks to keep the pots steady with great results..but the 45degree poles add some stability to the tree as well whilst the roots grow out
     
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