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Tulip Tree Transplant

Posted by karij_luvplants 9 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 5, 07 at 19:48

New here and looking for help. We had to move a 15+ tall Tulip tree last weekend- it was planted less than 10 ft from garage and had to go for a project. We dug 4+ feet around it and we were very careful with the root ball, the tree was moved directly to the new hole that was very large, damp with a little loam added in. I used some root stimulator when watering for the 1st time, the tree is on drip line. As of today all of the leaves are dried and coming off with a crazy wind that came up, it appears there is some new bud growth at some points near where the now dead leaves were but I am not sure if they were already there as new growth before the dreaded move or not. Anyone have any suggestions? Should I prune back all branches? or just let it go until winter then prune and pray for new growth in the spring? I really want it to survive as I lost 2 weeping willows to the darn beavers last week so the area is looking a little bare. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

Next time transplant tulip poplar in the late winter when stil dormant (best planted in spring), don't use fertilizer/stimulator or peat moss. The thing was florishing without it and will be stressed enough.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 5, 07 at 23:43

Don't prune at all. Not now or later. The tree will "tell" you what is still alive by putting out new growth in spring.

A question: Where is the dripper -- actually, I hope a bunch of drippers? (The should be on top of the rootball.) And how long do you run the system?

Beyond that, can you rig some sort of windbreak and/or shading? It would help the tree if you could.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

Summer is the worst time to transplant a tree. Yeah, the best time to transplant a Tulip tree is in late winter or early spring before the buds start to swell and leaf out when the tree is dormant. Potted trees can be planted any time of the year unless the ground is frozen. When a tree is fully leafed out there is a very high chance it will die unless nearly all the huge root system was excavated and the root ball was not disturbed, cracked, or broken up.
The rule of thumb is for every 1 inch in diameter of trunk, you should dig the root ball at least 12 inches wide and almost as deep. So if the trunk is 4 inches wide then the root ball should be at least 48 inches wide.
When you plant the tree the hole should be dug or tilled in a area that's 3 to 5 times as wide as the root ball of the tree to allow better root establishment which will help with growth and health of the tree. Fill it back in with the soil you dug out. Dig the same depth as the root ball is deep, so don't dig deeper than the root ball.
Finally mulch the wide area with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch, (and keep it off the trunk) keep it watered good though the next couple of years until it establishes well.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

With all due respect to Jean, I am not sure some pruning would not be in order. I have had a debate on this issue with two or three others in this forum (or conifers) more than once already, so forgive the repetition.

Anyway, in the interest of helping to save this tree, here goes. But first, I think the chances of survival here are low, but there is no harm in trying.

I have been transplanting trees since I was 7 years old and I am now 68--still going strong. Many, many years of experience has taught me, without controlled scientific experiments, that when a tree during transplant loses a large portion of its roots, and/or is moved at a time when there can be extreme "moisture stress" on its foliage, it is a good idea to carefully reduce the foliage area of the tree.

I do not advocate topping any tree or whacking off the ends of branches, except in some circumstances. So here is what I would do. If the tree has any lower limbs that you would prune anyway to give room under the tree, prune those off now. If there are any places where there are branches growing close to each other, prune off the smaller one. If any branches cross each other (unusual with a tuliptree) prune off the smaller one. If by any chance the tree has a forked top, cut off one side--the smaller one.

Now with young tuliptrees, my guess that after you have done all these things, you may not have reduced the foliage by very much--based on my understanding of their growth habits. So, to reduce the foliage further, I would recommend that if the tree has any branches that are larger than the others, especially if they are lower branches or branches that come out from the tree at a more erect angle than the others, shorten them by finding a point about half way out where there is a good secondary branch, and cut it off at a point about 1/2 inch beyond where that branch comes out.

If you do all this carefully, you won't damage the form of the tree, and if you can reduce the foliage area by about 1/3rd or more, you will increase the admittedly small chance that the tree will survive.

Good luck. Keep the tree well watered, but don't drown it--let the soil dry out some between waterings. Mulch. If there are winds there, stake it.

--Spruce


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

Thanks for all the advice, we knew that this time of year was not ideal for moving the tree but due to the other projects it had to be done. We did follow the 12 inches to every 1 inch of tree diameter rule, and the hole was adequate size also. There are 2 separate drip lines (water comes on for 15 min to that line morning & evening)on the tree on opposite sides directly over the root area and it is staked well. The high wind yesterday removed most of the leaves and I can see some little tiny buds on some of the branches. I did choose one branch that was too low and cut it back, green was found about half way (the branch was approx 36 inches out in length) so if other small branches are obviously dead should they be trimmed back to find green or just leave it until spring?


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

Just to make sure, are we talking about Liriodendron tulipifera?

And if so, does this tree grow well where you are? I envision your area to be very arid and extremely hot.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 6, 07 at 13:52

You said:
"There are 2 separate drip lines (water comes on for 15 min to that line morning & evening"

Do you really mean 2 drip lines? Or is it 2 drippers? If the former, how many drippers does each line have?

To calculate how much water the rootball is really receiving, add up total output per hour of all the drippers, then divide by 4.

If only 2 drippers, and even if they put out 2 gallons per hour, the tree's 4-foot rootball is only receiving 1 gallon per 15-minute dose. Far too little.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

As of today all of the leaves are dried and coming off

when a tree during transplant loses a large portion of its roots, and/or is moved at a time when there can be extreme "moisture stress" on its foliage, it is a good idea to carefully reduce the foliage area of the tree.

_If all the leaves are gone, how can they be a moisture stress on the roots? I say don't prune until the new leaves come.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

dude:

Good question. When I wrote my response I did not know all the leaves were gone. I think this tree is most probably dead.

But to follow up the discussion--if the tree were not dead, and if it were to resprout leaves, or if the tree were transplanted in spring and not naturally leaved out yet, I would still do the pruning I recommend. I would do it to reduce the moisture stress that I can anticipate once the leaves do come out, AND to prevent the tree from wasting its resources on making leaves in a quantity that the root system could not supply with moisture once they are fully out.

The arguments I have seen in these forums against this kind of pruning are that the tree can't repair its roots unless it has foliage to catch the energy of the sun and make the materials that are used to grow roots. I agree that a tree needs to have good foliage to be healthy and grow roots--and I have given recommendations to that point several times in these forums in different kinds of situations, such as when a tree produces sprouts from the roots, all should be preserved for a year or two to allow the root system to recover and/or maintain its strength before we select the one sprout that will grow into a new tree, and such as avoiding pruning a tree too early to help it develop a good shape, which can slow the tree's overall development.

But in a case involving the kind of root injuries that transplanting can cause, I don't think the leaves that a tree is struggling to supply with moisture, and struggling to provide the energy for to grow into anything but puny little leaves, are going to do much to help any roots re-grow--in fact they will be a drain on the entire tree's resources, including those in the roots. The tree "knows" it has to produce leaves, and if it has too many branches and too many leaf buds, etc., the system of the poor tree will be overwhelmed and the whole "system" will collapse, i.e. die.

A tree in this situation sometimes can selectively reject some of its branches/leaves--i. e. they will die or drop off, but my experience is that a tree does this best when it is suffering stress that comes on more gradually. In a case like this, the natural process a tree will use to "adjust" to harsh conditions is not able to function so fast. We need to give the poor little things that we abuse some help to cope with the abuse.

--Spruce


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

The drip line has 2 mini sprinkler heads, sorry for the confusion. I calculate the flow to be about 8.5 gal per hour so the tree should be getting around 4.25 gal per day.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

Just to make sure, are we talking about Liriodendron tulipifera?

And if so, does this tree grow well where you are? I envision your area to be very arid and extremely hot.


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RE: Tulip Tree Transplant

yes the tree is Liriodendron tulipifera, my area is very hot in the summer around 115 degrees on the warmest days but we have a nice spring and fall. The Tulip trees do very well here normally.


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