Moving a Shrub vs. moving a tree

kashka_kat(z4 WI)June 24, 2013

I planted a summer wine ninebark about 3 years ago and its grown nicely - a beautiful shrub. There happens to be a small tree growing right next to it. The trunk of this tree is only about 4 or 5 inches away from the crown of the ninebark. I think I tried to get rid of it once but its back - a black walnut.

The thing is - I like black walnuts! Once you get over the juglone thing it really is a beautiful tree. There is (I meant to say WAS) one incredibly large, majestic black walnut in the back corner of my yard. Since we've already got juglone-resistant plantings when it came to thinking about getting new trees I thought - what I'd really like is another black walnut or 2.

I was going to move the little tree but read they have long tap roots and can't really be transplanted. Besides, the little walnut really is in the ideal spot for a new tree and its probably about 3 years old so has attained some height.

So that leaves moving the ninebark. How established are its roots at this point? If it was a year, or even 2 years after planting I think I could easily pop it out and drop into a new hole. But 3 years ....?

Can I move it now? With ongoing rains here in the midwest
and moist soil that would be good for reestablishing roots vs. waiting til fall when it may not be so damp. Its done flowering.

Would rooting hormone help both tree and shrub recover?


This post was edited by kashka_kat on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 15:15

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i wouldnt move anything in july/august ...

nothing stops rain faster.. lol ...


    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:24PM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

So June 30 should be OK then? Just kidding! If Sept. is really better I'll wait.

Usually I would wait but.... I just wonder how intertwined the roots might be at this point and thought maybe the sooner I got the ninebark out the better. Is heat part of the reason for waiting - we have rain predicted for the next 2 weeks but if heat stresses the plant then that's another reason for not doing it (90+ temps also predicted).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

You can root prune now on the side between the two plants, which will slow down the roots growing together, and then move later in the year, as Ken suggests.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:28PM
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To me, the bigger question is why is this black walnut seedling the only one? Since you have a tree that produces nuts, I would expect you to be so tired of digging up all the black walnut starts..and for most of the year, since here I notice the new ones spring and summer, but eventually by fall I find the sneaky ones that hid from me earlier in the season.

My 'across the street and down one house garden' had one of the largest BW trees around until recently ( many of us are sad it ended up having to go ). Such a beautiful tree. But the darn nuts the squirrels forgot still are a neighborhood pest. This is the third or fourth year post-BW tree and while I'm getting fewer than before, there are still enough I do an eye-roll and a sigh as I go for the spade. Regular weeding tools don't go deep enough, you have to get all the way down to where the nut was planted. If you have whacked at any of these seedlings repeatedly with just a sturdy weeder, the problem only becomes a much bigger project getting rid of monster,, twisted, deep root.

The ninebark is a beautiful plant, one you paid good money for and have invested time and effort towards. BW seedlings are a dime a dozen and grow FAST! Personally I would look around a bit more and find a different seedling. If that fails, and you are the tidiest gardener ever, after you come over and help me try to keep up with the garden ;) , you can plant some nuts this fall, then pick the one that is truly outstanding in the group to save for your future tree. Seems like that tree would be the winner in many ways and you can say I started this as a nut !

Be sure to take a picture of the nut for the baby book. Just think how the size of the new BW tree will be in family photos over the years. :)

This post was edited by plaidbird on Tue, Jun 25, 13 at 2:49

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:40AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

and forget about tap roots ...

under the theory they are important .. then NO TREE WOULD EVER BE MOVED ...

its simply irrelevant.. IMHO ...

the few times i have tried root pruning.. i have killed things ... it just means cutting off half the roots in july/august.. then cutting off the rest in a month or two ... and that is not really the time they are in root growing phase ... IMHO.. root pruning would be done the season prior to transplant ... not weeks/months ...

just dig it up once ... in fall.. when leaves start changing in the area... that is tree moving time ... or in spring.. as soon as the ground thaws ... ground freeze peeps have 2 windows of opportunity ... as compared to our southern friends ...

the idea is to do it 6 to 8 weeks prior to ground freeze.. as that is root growing time .. the trees are storing energy in new roots... etc ...

or 6 to 8 weeks PRIOR to the heat of summer.. aka april in the great white north ...

as you can see.. neither period is july nor august.. nor 6/30 .. lol ...

again.. i am not a tree scientist.. these are generalizations of why i do things as i do in z5 MI .. ground freeze area ...


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:06AM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

LOL at the idea of getting a baby nut book - it's funny,but that's exactly how I feel about this adorable lil tree. I'll be sure to measure and photograph it every year!

It's kind of a long story but here goes... A railroad track goes by my back yard. Used to have a HUGE black walnut back there - healthy, beautiful vase like shape. A tree guy estimated that it was probably at least 70 years old, technically on rr property but hey - the limbs extended into my yard and I considered it "my" tree. The rr came along a couple years ago with a giant saw on a giant arm that sliced and diced all the trees along the rr corridor including taking the top 1/2 off the black walnut. Then a greedy woodworker neighbor came along the next day when I wasnt home and sawed down the rest of it. I was so angry!!! I still can't look at the stump without feeling a lot of grief and missing that tree - I swear, losing a tree can be as bad as losing a person. Heck, depending on the tree and depending on the person - it can be even WORSE!

So, the largest most beautiful tree is gone from my yard, but two elms DYING of dutch elm disease still remain. Those the RR and my idiot neighbor left intact - they will eventually die, rot and fall into my yard.

So anyway - no, there really aren't any others, just this poor lil orphan tree which happens to be growing in just the right spot, safely on my property so no harm can come to it. I'm in an urban area so not like I can go looking and find any others. I looked around and there doesn't seem to be such any such thing as a black walnut available for purchase through a nursery - go figure. Guess people don't like that juglone thing!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 12:05PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Deciduous plants shouldn't be transplanted when they have their full complement of leaves.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:14PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Deciduous plants shouldn't be transplanted when they have their full complement of leaves.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 6:37PM
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I just dug one up this past weekend. It was getting much bigger than it was supposed to and was too big for the spot. I think it has been there 3 years but maybe 4. The roots were very well established. I initially hoped to pop it out and try re-planting it to see it it would be OK but there was no way of getting it out alive. I replace it with a Little Devil Ninebark which shouldn't grow as big. Although Summer Wine wasn't supposed to be 7 feet tall either. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:57AM
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