Damaged boxwood rootball - will this transplant survive?

MattVA81August 19, 2012


Wondering if anyone could offer their thoughts on this Green Velvet boxwood. It is about 5 years old, 3 feet wide. I took it up for transplant but botched it with the backhoe. The rootball is very roughly 8 inches deep (yikes!), roughly 20-25 inches across.

Wondering the chance of survival--what do you think?

Thanks for any advice!

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Sorry, here's the photo:

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:35PM
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There is a pretty good chance....you'll want to get it planted quickly and make sure the rootball stays moist (NOT WET) through the fall, winter, and most of next summer. Boxwood are very drought tolerant with a fibrous root system which should facilitate its recovery.

PS. Brush up on your heavy equipment training....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 9:29AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

must be nice to have a backhoe for transplanting.. lol ...

very generally speaking.. a vast majority of the roots on most plants.. are in the top foot of soil ...

if PROPERLY WATERED.. there is no reason it should fail.. though i would NOT have done such in august.. pray for lack of 100 degree temps for a month or so ...

the only thing i really fear.. backhoe boy.. is that you also have a firehose laying around for watering.. lol ...

i presume you did what you had to do.. so whatever.. if it works.. it works.. and if it doesnt.. its only a common boxwood ...


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Thanks folks for your replies. For what it's worth, the backhoe was a major rental expense, and a major failure--I had not calculated that the treads would destroy the lawn, thus I wasted this rental with nowhere I could go. Never been so frustrated! All's that left is grueling manual labor, frustrated that the "Dyna Diggr"--or similar clever equipment that would be handier than a blunt backhoe--is nowhere to be rented. I've also tried Tripplebrook Farm's rootball digger tool with absolutely zero positive results. There is a market out there for smaller-job power digging equipment more tailored for shrubbery.

Thanks again for the comments, I was worried I'd killed this thing.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Tried to kill boxwood before, extremely unlikely that what you did is fatal unless the follow-up/replant is completely botched. If roots are still in the original location, it's likely more foliage will sprout there soon.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Have a look at this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Myth of Fragile Roots

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 3:30PM
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MattVA81, here's what's gonna happen to your boxwood, it will lose about half of it's foliage. It will look ratty until next Spring at which time it will slowly put out new foliage and recover. It is possible that some new growth will occur this Fall if it is mild and wet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------at some point we really need to come up with good link to refer people to which shows how to dig a rootball. This boxwood is a minor job and easily accomplished. All one needs is to learn the technique. Hispanic workers are all over the country, coast to coast digging such rootballs using something like this:

This is a SPADE with a sharp blade for digging and shaping rootballs. I have linked a thread on this forum which shows what can happen to a shrub which was dug without a proper rootball.
Regarding the "Myth of Fragile Roots" that site is ancient history, long ago discredited, scroll on by.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dead Barerooted Shrub

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I looked at the other thread, your claims are off base. The creation and continuing operation of the Linda-Chalker Scott site(s) has nothing to do with me or anyone else here (that I know of), nor does she tell you to dig a shrub up in the middle of summer and bareroot it and so on. You need to learn to read more carefully before you announce on the internet that the work of others has been discredited.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Thanks all for your advice.

SAM_MD - I think you're exactly right since your advice is essentially what my fear was, haha. For the record I've transplanted other shrubs with a spade and large rootball and had much success--you're right about the basics of transplanting. This boxwood was just my unfortunate causality of machinery short cutting.

Question: what are the markers/pencil for, outlining the cut, or something I'm not aware of?

Also, question: does anyone know where you can buy larger but inexpensive Green Velvet boxwoods other than local nurseries? Though there might be a great website I don't know about.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Hi Matt,
Unless you can buy @ wholesale you will have to go through your contractor, here's a place to start:
English Boxwoods of Virginia www.englishboxwoods.com
George Bridge Boxwoods www.oldplants.com

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:31AM
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