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Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Posted by aggierose (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 17:52

Hello all. I have a saucer magnolia that I will be transplanting in about 2 weeks. It is very special to me as it was planted in memory of our 23 month old daughter who passed away 2 years ago. We just moved and plan on taking the tree with us. I know I risk it not making it, but I would rather try to have it here with us than leave it behind. I'm looking for any advice on what I can do to help ensure it survives. I will be hiring a local tree farm company to transplant it for me. I live just north of Dallas, Tx and we have had cold and freezing weather here now for a week or 2 so I think now is a good time to move it. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

if you are hiring professionals to do it..

what exactly are you asking us???

yes.. when the plant is in dormancy.. is usually the best time to move it ...

you dont mention size.. but presuming this is the plain old species... you should have pretty good luck.. depending on the level of your professional ... and YOUR AFTERCARE ...

see link.. call the secretary.. since she lists a phone# ... explain to her the situation ... and ask her.. who might graft a few pieces for you ... sort of a fail safe.. if the big one dies ... and if you end up with extra .. you can gift them out to others ... tell them you understand its not a variety that would usually require grafting.. but the sentimentality is worth it to you ...

and then plan on never moving again ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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offset the cost

you can offset the cost by buying smaller oaks!!!1

ken


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Ken, yes, my aftercare would be a good start for advice. That would fall into the "what can I do to help ensure that it survives" statement I made. It is approx 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It's been in the ground for 20 months.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

First, DO NOT take for granted that the "professionals" know what they are doing. Many do, some absolutely do not! I'll bet few will provide the tree with the attention to detail you believe it's probably worth. Below is a link to a guide that I would suggest you read carefully. If the "pros" don't follow it reasonably closely, ask questions. Or, if you have questions after reading the guide, please ask!

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a Tree or Shrub


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Thank you Brandon. That's the kind of advice I was looking for. I know (from reading on this site) that professionals make mistakes all the time. If I know how to properly do it then I can supervise them. If I don't know how it should be done then I won't be able to correct anything they are doing wrong.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

I totally agree with brandon7 about professionals and with much - but not all - of the advice contained in the Planting a Tree or Shrub link.

Magnolias present some special difficulties in transplanting and establishing. They have fleshy, brittle and easily damaged roots with comparatively few root hairs. This means more than usual care needs to be taken when digging the tree from where it is growing so root damage is kept to an absolute minimum.

It also means that the new planting site needs to be carefully prepared and here I would disagree with the 95% native soil advice in the link. Magnolias need highly organic soil so that the roots do not experience difficulty in establishing themselves. If the native soil meets the criteria, fine, but most soils would not. Supplementing the native soil with coarse organic matter - not peat moss - is, imho, very important for magnolias even if it is unnecessary or undesireable for the majority of trees. This means digging a wide (5' minimum unless its a very small tree) and shallow planting area plus mixing a lot of soil. Lots of work, but you obviously care a great deal about this tree and want to give it the very best chance for survival.

For at least the first two years, staking is also a good idea, unless, again, it's a very small tree. Winds can rock magnolias enough so that the roots are torn and unlike most other trees they will not easily regrow from the damaged area.

Best wishes for a successful transplant.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 3, 13 at 11:52

Amending of planting hole backfill is never beneficial - regardless of what species is involved - because of the effects the amending has on the movement of water into and out of the amended planting hole. If you want to improve the rooting environment for a tree you need to modify the entire bed, and not just the hole, so that the whole potential rooting area for the tree is made different. And you need to use mineral material like sand in order for the change in soil texture produced to last throughout the life of the planting. Organic amendments like peat, compost and so on break down and allow the soil to return to its original condition, making the use of these pointless for long term plantings like trees.

Deciduous magnolias having their roots cut during the winter may often fail to bud out properly and grow away the following spring. Unless the growing season for saucer magnolia is just about to start in your region it may be a waste of time and money to dig up your tree now. If it is still recently enough in the current site that only a comparatively limited amount of root loss will occur then it may be possible to take it with you.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Deciduous magnolias having their roots cut during the winter may often fail to bud out properly and grow away the following spring.

==>>bboy... clarify please ... what do you mean 'grow away' ...

otherwise.. yes.. you might sacrifice this years bloom .... but if it lives... it should bloom the year following 'establishment' .. if not the second year ...

in a prefect world.. the old soil and the new soil are near equivalent .... in regards to drainage..

plop it in the hole.. water DEEPLY.. mulch properly.. and let it near dry.. in between DEEP waterings ...

a little spraying when you think of it.. wont be good enough ... you want dampness thru the whole root zone ... until it regrows all that was cut off .... and who knows how long that will take ... [i said DAMP.. not sodden]

insert finger.. and water.. when the soil.. at 2 inches .. under the mulch .... seems hot or dry ...

in spring .. this might be once a month.. in summer.. once a week.. who knows what your soil is.. but you and your finger ....

i would call a very high end nursery.. and ask who they might recommend.. as well as the tree nursery you will be dealing with.. i would make multiple calls ...

but for its very large size... this should not be a tricky tree to move.. given the experience level of the digger ...

with all respect.. i hate these memorial plantings.. i cant tell you how many i have left behind.. or killed.. though never like your circumstance ... and how many GW posts we have along these lines.. over the years ... its heartbreaking .... but ....

if it all doesnt work out.. just buy a new plant ... a saucer.. is a saucer.. is a saucer ... its the memory you want to keep alive ...

good luck

ken


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Anyone know if she could root a dormant cutting? That way she keeps the memorial alive and will have an easier time establishing the baby in case the original plant fails.

John


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Bboy already kind of answered some of this, but I'm gonna add my 2 cents anyway.

Amending the soil used to backfill is almost never a good idea. Numerous scientific studies, involving all types of soil and climate conditions, have shown this. I would even go so far as to say that amending the entire area of the expected mature rootzone of the tree would only be beneficial in certain situations (creating a large bathtub-effect isn't any better than creating a small one).

If one does amend (whether it be for the tree, for the peace of mind of someone who "believes in it", or for good luck), the amendments should constitute 5% or less of soil volume (basically, not enough to hurt much). Some studies have shown that soils that contain around 5% or less of organic material are optimal for most woody plants, so, even if you were adding organic material to a very inorganic soil, you wouldn't need much.

As for staking, trees (especially magnolias with their large rootballs) don't usually need staking, but I'd definitely leave that decision to the people that are there (aggierose and the people planting the tree). If it needs it, it needs it. If it doesn't it doesn't.

I also want to re-emphasize Bboy's point about now not being the best time to transplant a fleshy-rooted magnolia. Basically, the broken roots are much more likely to rot this time of year. Late-winter/early-spring (in a few months) would definitely be a more ideal time. Fleshy-rooted magnolias are an exception to the normal planting-time guidelines.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Brandon, your post left me with a couple of questions. First, do all magnolias have large root balls? The magnolia I'm transplanting is a saucer magnolia. Most people assume I mean a little gem magnolia because that's what they are used to here but they are very different plants, yet still magnolias. How do I know if enough of the root ball is being dug up? When removing the plant should the hole be bigger than the drip line of the widest branch? Also, you said now is not the best time to move a "fleshy-rooted magnolia." What does "fleshy rooted" mean? If I wait much longer it will be in full bloom. Is that a better time to move it? Thanks for your help!


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

I don't really wish to engage in another debate about soil amendment for planting trees, but would suggest that sweeping generalizations that it is never or almost never a good idea are misleading. Japanese maples and magnolias are two trees that require loose, highly organic soil if they are to flourish. It is absoultely true that digging a small hole just larger than the rootball then backfilling with amended soil will do more harm than good. Starting with a wide shallow area, which is why I indicated a minimum of 5 feet in diameter, is important to avoid the so called bathtub effect. The interface between the native soil and the amended soil is not a static area. In a surprisingly short time, soil fauna mixes the two. If you start with a large area, and maintain a mulch layer the chances of creating the dreaded bathtub are nearly nonexistent and the tree will be able to establish a root system strong enough to eventually cope with the native soil when it encounters it after a number of years of growth. Most trees - no soil amendment. Magnolias and Japanese maples (and some others, such as oxydendron) most definitely benefit from it.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

Well, right or wrong, the soil for my saucer magnolia will be amended. I'm currently having a large bed built and the magnolia is going in the center of it. The stone border of the bed is approx 15 inches high and the bed is about 10 feet wide by 15 feet wide. I'm having very good dirt brought in to fill the bed to the top edge of the stone border. It's very loose, sandy, and full of compost. I assume the new dirt will get mixed in pretty well with the old dirt when the tree is planted. I was told to do this by the local tree farm. Hopefully the tree will thrive and not suffer from the soil amendment. The landscapers have been working on this project for 3 days now and are almost finished so it's too late for me to change anything.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

I won't mention anything about amending soil because I am far too lazy to do it and have nothing to say. Around here, if you dig a whole into the clay and add good dirt, the first rain turns it into a mini pond. Amending soil would have to be carried out over the whole acreage to change anything.

I will comment on transplanting Magnolias because I'm fond of them and have 9 different ones, all species trees. One species was transplanted as a 3 leafed sprig, so it doesn't count. Of the ones I planted from pots (1 gal to 5 gal), almost all lost a year or more. My sieboldii took 3 years to recover if you count the number of years that went by without bloom. I found that no matter how careful you handle them, they apparently don't like to be moved. In most cases, the original tree died, but new shoots from the base, or, in the case of M. virginiana, new plants sprung up to replace what was lost.

The reason I wanted to mention this was so that you do not lose heart if the plant declines while new shoots appear. It may be that you will see the new growth eclipse the old and you will need to cut the old like I did to M. acuminata and the M. ashei. On the other hand, the M. stellata lost nothing, and the M. liliflora (one of the parents of Saucer Magnolia) was allowed to grow into a blob because I was hesitant to prune in those days.

Overall, I would say that they don't like to be moved, but also don't like to die and so they will grow for you.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 12:47

Planting into a bed with the same new topsoil throughout is fine. What you want to avoid is pockets or zones of one soil texture surrounded by a larger area of another.

It makes no difference what kind of tree, what kind of original soil or what kind of amendment is involved. Tests going back decades have had the same results repeated, amending of planting hole backfill resulted in less growth of the test subjects in the amended holes than of the ones in the unamended holes. It is always the same physical phenomemon that is the basis for the problem with amending of planting hole backfill, anything that is done to place the newly planted specimen in a pocket or other small area of one texture in the midst of a larger, surrounding area of different texture can be detrimental - if this situation results in a deleterious effect on how water moves into and out of the amended planting hole.

Water collecting in amended planting holes is not the extent of the problem, amending turning planting holes or small beds into water shedding zones is also common - perhaps more common.

The evolution of thinking in this area has taken us to the point where bare-rooting at planting time is now being recommended, due to the original potting soil or field soil rootballs on newly planting stock having the same influence as heavily amended planting hole backfills.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

"...do all magnolias have large root balls?"

I'd feel more comfortable saying that most should and that yours should.

"How do I know if enough of the root ball is being dug up?"

Someone else may be able to come up with a guide better suited for this situation, but here's (click for link) one that could give you an idea of the absolute minimum size (in other words, the rootball would need to be larger than what you'll see in this generic guide).

"What does "fleshy rooted" mean?"

The roots are much thicker and less branched than most other species. Sometimes they are described as "rope-like".

"Is that a better time to move it?"

As Bboy said, the best time would be just before or just as it starts putting on new growth.
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"...sweeping generalizations...is never or almost never a good idea are misleading"

I don't consider my comments as being even slightly more over-generalized than I meant for them to be (unless there's something I am overlooking). In fact, I tried to be careful to make statements that would be valid even in the more unusual/rare situations I could think of.

"Japanese maples and magnolias are two trees that require loose, highly organic soil if they are to flourish..." and "Most trees - no soil amendment. Magnolias and Japanese maples ... most definitely benefit from it."

Bboy covered this VERY well, but I'll add that from what I've seen the vastly overwhelming amount of scientific evidence agrees with Bboy's comments.

"If you start with a large area, and maintain a mulch layer the chances of creating the dreaded bathtub are nearly nonexistent."

No, actually, the amount of area has zero effect on this phenomenon. Depth can be a factor (depending on soil profile), but not area.
__________________________

Ahhh, so we're talking a raised bed....

Raised beds/berms, placed on top of native soil, are not backfill, so amendments are not necessarily a bad thing. The "bathtub effect" usually doesn't apply to raised beds, but the soil interface issues still can (depending on the relative size of the bed/berm). However, as pointed out in the planting guide, organic components should probably be limited to around 5%. You could easily extrapolate Bboy's original comments above to this situation.

Whether your soil blend is ideal or not is impossible to know without more info, but, as you said, it's too late to worry about that now. I'll place my bet that it'll be fine. (-:

This post was edited by brandon7 on Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 22:44


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 23:54

Saucer magnolia is a highly popular, comparatively easily grown item. However, in my area there are large numbers of this (and other magnolias) that clearly need to be fertilized. So a sandy or otherwise coarse artificial mix might be a bit lean for yours, without some nutrient supplementation.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

my "jane" and "ann" magnolioas have not bloomed well the last two years. what kind of fertilizer do you recommend?


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

what kind of fertilizer do you recommend?

The one in line with your soil test results.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

I thought I would post a follow up to this post. I transplanted my saucer magnolia and it seems to be doing great! It bloomed like crazy and has now leafed out nicely. My question now is if I should fertilize it now or wait a little while. If I need to fertilize it now what should I use? It was planted into a raised bed that is about 15-18 inches deep. The landscaper brought in what they told me was "great soil" to fill it with, but I don't know much about it.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

It's great to hear that the transplant seems to have been a success for this tree with a very special meaning. I'd check with the nursery on the fertilizer question. It may not need any at all this first year or perhaps beyond. Maintaining the mulch and making sure the soil remains moist are probably the two most important things you can do.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

It's great to hear that the transplant seems to have been a success for this tree with a very special meaning. I'd check with the nursery on the fertilizer question. It may not need any at all this first year or perhaps beyond. Maintaining the mulch and making sure the soil remains moist are probably the two most important things you can do.


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RE: Need help transplanting a saucer magnolia

So how about an update with pics? I just purchased a container grown saucer magnolia yesterday and intend to plant it this morning. One of my favorite trees because of it's beautiful, early blooms.


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