Magnolia move

cheloneSeptember 16, 2008

Deanne asked.

Caveat: buying tastey shrubs when you find them is a great idea. So is "planting" them. But don't leave them in the ground too long...

This Magnolia "Butterflies" was an unexpected "score" because we capitalized on the grower's shipping error. It lived in the pot for a year. The helpmeet took "pity" on it and planted in his vegetable garden in '05. Be mindful how you dispense your "pity"!

He's 6'2" and is about 200lbs.

This is the intended site. It's the mouth of the orginal driveway on to the Compound. And the veiw of the busy road is terrific and unimpaired. Gotta put the kibosh on THAT, but quick!

We dig and this is what we wrestled from the raised bed that was its home for 3 years:

It requied a lot of sweat, some cross words, and some feline help...

(your's truly is 5'5" and goes 135-140? we don't own a bathroom scale, either!)

The bound, trussed Magnolia is deposited next to the hole that will receive it:

And here she is! in her new home:

We really savaged the roots, but that's part of transplanting. Fall is a good time to move shrubs in New England and it'll survive, though I'm not sure there will be any flowers next spring. Still, though, I'm OK with that.

We exchanged a few cross words, but as soon as it was in the new site the helpmeet's first words were,

"WOW! instant landscaping! Nice work, hon', you picked the perfect place for this plant."

Thank you, dear. :)

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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Bravo! Can I hire you guys? Love the 'short help' too. every picture needs a cute kitty. :)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:00PM
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Aha, inadverdantly the mysterious veggie garden is revealed !!

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:08PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, your digging, balling, and burlaping, reminded me of what I did 32 years ago. I had bought a lovely weeping beech tree. It came balled and burlaped. I planted it in our front yard. A couple of years later we sold that place and built a new home out of town. I was not going to leave that tree behind, so I, singlehandedly, dug all around it and balled and burlaped it again. We but it in a large wooden box, and moved it to our new home. We only lived there about 10 months, and decided to move to Arkansas. We couldn't move the tree with us, so I gave it to a family in our congregation. Sad to say, I found out later that it died. :-(
I hope your lovely Magnolia fares better.

I love the pic of the kitty helper. :-)

BTW, tell your helpmeet that I have done the same thing....planted trees and shrubs in the veggie garden just to 'hold them over', and then had to move them when they were out-growing their space. Now, all my 'held-over'
trees and shrubs are in containers. I 'hope' to get them in the ground someday....

Your screen to block out the traffic is shaping up to be very pretty.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:31PM
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Wow Liz! Great Magnolia and perfect placement! I love that it has not been limbed up.

I can finally get an idea of the lay of the land! I was really worried about the veggie garden for a bit :)

Shamefully the Viburnum that mocks me is still in my berm garden. Ei even asked if it was a sumac and I forgot to answer her :)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Looks like quite a project! The screen is shaping up quickly with shrubs that size. When we dug up the 15 shrubs in the front yard DH invented and then welded a shrub digger to go on the skid loader. It dug them out and then redug the holes later. Ours were all dwarf shrubs but they had been in the ground for 11 years. It appears that you don't have nearby neighbors at least across the street. Nice!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:12PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Nice work! That tree looks perfect in that spot. By next summer there will be no evidence of the former driveway by the looks of things! (I hope you're well stocked on linament supplies because I'll bet you may need some after all that heavy work :- )

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:31PM
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Chelone, nice to see such an elegant example of Archimedes' boast: "Give me a place to stand, and with a lever I will move the whole world." So do you or did you trim off some of the top growth to compensate for the root loss? No? Couldn't find the Felcos? ;)

Great job!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Vegetable World is sacrosant, Saucy, and will remain so. In fact, the "full sun" aspect necessary for good vegetable production has been greatly aided by the construction of the bahn and the destruction of the lovely roadside thicket. :( The good part is that the helpmeet will gain a lot of FULL SUN space for his gahden. I'm not in complete agreement about how he ought to put it to use, but it's not within my realm, so it doesn't matter one way or the other. But rest assured, Vegatable World remains a force with which to be reckoned. :/

Marian, this is the largest thing we've ever dug and moved by ourselves. The Japanese Maple we planted some years ago was as large BUT its rootball was intact and we didn't have to dig it ourselves. Hence, my caveat that you exercise EXTREME caution when you plant shrubs, to "tide them over".

I'm gettin' too old for this stuff... ;)

So, that's why the "shrub border" became necessary, at all! When they cleared for the bahn, all the nice trees and protective thickets were erased. It was awful. And the present lack of privacy is merely an endlessly repeated lamentation for the missing grove/understory thicket that once was. :(

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:41PM
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We trimmed nothing at all, Denise. We'll allow winter kill to dictate what should be trimmed. But fall here is generally moist and pruning to compensate for lack of moisture is not generally necessary here since winter's enforced hibernation is soon expected. (You're SO "west coast") :)

I'm always nervous about that sort of thing whenever we move shrubs, but the reality is, that people worry way too much about that sort of thing and too little about the hole, and the backfill that will nourish the severed roots and encourage them them to strike out and establish greater connection with Mother earth!

Moreover, they pay too little attention to WATERING. When roots have been severed for transplanting the plant that's just been moved has been depreprived of its connection to WATER. Roots will reestablish themselves but ONLY if they have adequate water to do so. Water, water, water! End of story, keep it up until the ground freezes and continue it the following season.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:12PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Woohoo!!!!! Fabu job Chelone and what a terrific photo journal of the move. I'm so happy you shared that with us. I especially love the shot of the helpmeet. He looks like he could be Doug from that angle. LOL What fun the felines got into the move as well. I just love the new location of the Magnolia. It looks wonderful there.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:21PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I was 43 when I escavated the roots of my weeping beech, so I was somewhat younger than you at the time. I don't recall how tall it was, but I know it was taller than I. Now I know that I was shorter than you (maybe still close to 5'2"), and weighed around 125. It had a large root ball.....
I wish I had the weeping beech here.

Does your helpmeet plant a wide variety of veggies in his gahden? Do you can a lot? Or freeze them?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:29PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Wow! Great job, and it looks like you went out and bought the shrub for the spot. Lol, I think cross words go with the territory on a project like that, don't they? I "temporarily" planted a mock orange, and I imagine I have a sharp remark or two coming my way when we move it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Good reason to be nervous about cutting back. This is what I found:

"Pruning of active growth of the tree before, during, or after a move should be avoided for three years, the approximate time it takes for the roots to rejuvenate. When a tree is pruned, it releases hormones, or auxins, that encourage new growth at lateral buds along the branches. Normally, feeding this new growth would not be so taxing to the root system, but it is problematic for a newly moved or transplanted tree because it is struggling to maintain its current vegetative growth while at the same time renew its root system. One study found that pruning of terminal buds of sugar maple seedlings delayed root growth until another bud developed. In another test of bare rootstock of 6 tree species, nearly all trees survived the post-planting pruning, but none benefited from it. Of those pruned, 30-45% did not reestablish a natural growth form. Removing deadwood, however, is helpful to remove opportunities for pest and disease to attack the tree, and its removal bears no consequence to the root system."

From this site:

Here is a link that might be useful: What happens to a tree when it's moved?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:35PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, well....great photos, Chelone! I am in love with your Magnolia 'Butterflies'. I had seen a group of small potted magnolias at the nursery this past weekend and the leaves were all huge and mildewed after so much rain this summer and I had about decided to take them off my list, but what a gorgeous specimen you have there! Great job of getting it in just the right place too.

Helpmeet must have some great soil in those veggie beds to grow such a great specimen. Love the veggie beds. Ours are constructed of that same thickness of wood.

You both must be very satisfied with your work. Another cat following the humans around...I am going to have to adjust my pre-conceived ideas about them. :-)

Great job!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:40PM
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"WOW! instant landscaping! Indeed. Looks good Chelone.
How tall do Magnolias get? Just looking at the powerline there. Maybe the photo is deceiveing as to where the line is?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Norma, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Been there done that..with the power lines.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Thank you, Chelone, for providing the perfect text book on how to move shrubs. Maybe it was destined that it rained last weekend so I could show my helpers these pics????

Love the placement...


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 7:04AM
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I have more photos of the surrounding area after grading and seeding for lawn. OK, I'm not thrilled with the idea of more lawn, but the helpmeet made a good point: it's EASY for us to grow here (no fuss/no muss) and it certainly "cleans up" an area that will become weed choked by mid-June. We can dig it out to plant more shrubs if we want to and what we've planted will add maybe 15 minutes to the mowing.

Denise, I hope you know I was teasing you (just in case); but the helpmeet and I had an interesting discussion about how differently "left" coasters, in seasonally dry areas and facing watering restrictions regard transplanting things relative to how Mainers do. And I wanted to add how much I love reading about your gardens because they are so foreign to my own experience, ditto Kathy.

As to the "mature size" of Magnolia "Butterflies"... well, The tag says 18-20'T and about 20'W. But I've read books that give the mature height and width as 15'x15'. Your guess is as good as mine. The "bigger the better", I say; and with that in mind we have planted it at least 10' "inside" the powerlines. NO way do I want the bozos on the power line crews "pruning" anything on my property. ;)

Oh, and PM2, kitties are the sweetest, most loving pets you can possibly imagine. Clean, quiet, and extremely affectionate, they require a "schedule" and as much loving attention as you'd lavish on a puppy (or a child!). But to say they aren't as loving as a dog is unfair. They're just different. But as soon as they hear one of our cars roll into the driveway they appear quietly and advance toward us when it's quiet and they deem it safe to do so. Cats are fabulous pets. I learned early on that men/people who "didn't like cats" weren't worth my time, let alone my effort in friendship! Cats are the most purrfect creatures to roam this earth. :)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

"I learned early on that men/people who "didn't like cats" weren't worth my time"

Isn't that the truth! Particularly useful information when dating. :)


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Both of my men love cats. I approached Tim with what would happen to Tommy and Trubby when/if we get to where they need a new home. He said he would take them.:-)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:35PM
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Cats are intelligent, playful, loyal, and most important, they purr, and a purring cat is one of lifes great comforts.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 10:44PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Wow Chelone...I'm impressed! You two look like a pair of professionals and I just love Ms. Kitty walking the plank! You indeed did pick the perfect place to move the magnolia. DH is right...instant landscaping indeed! Bravo! :-)


    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:22PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Finally made it here Chelone...and glad I did. Good job you two! In 3 years you'll have a woods there!
Aren't levers neat though? DH once had to raise a shed with straighten it. It worked too. Amazing.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 11:03PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Chelone...I was at the nursery this morning looking for a fall bargain and came home empty handed. I thought of you though, when I came upon a pathetic example of a Magnolia 'Butterflies'. No comparison to your beauty!

I had a few cats, growing up. I always enjoyed their shenanigans and some of them were at least willing to be held and petted, but I saw a great difference in how the dogs we had responded to us. We had a friend who had a Siamese cat whose favorite spot was on the top of the refrigerator just inside the kitchen door and whose favorite activity was either swiping at you as you came in the door or leaping on you with claws bared. Not an encounter that would leave one feeling warm and fuzzy. lol

I would have continued to have cats as pets, because they are very special and as you point out, different from dogs, but DH has strong allergies to cats so we have not had one for 30 years. I have missed out. :-) I have some very sweet photos of our DS's cats with his one dog but I need to ask his permission to post them.

On the Create cable station, there is a gardening show, called 'Cultivating Life' and they do theme shows with titles like, 'Bulb', 'Wood', 'Summer'...they had one on the other day called 'Cat'. :-) There was an interesting segment on selecting and caring for cats.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 5:33PM
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