Moving a Stewartia Ovata

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by jacquot, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Three years ago I planted a Sewartia Ovata in a place I thought would be good. It started as a 12" little stick, and is now about 8' high and branching! I'm amazed, because I had read it was slow growing and stayed fairly small. I'd like to move it now to a more appropriate place, but have also read that it is difficult to move.

    I am hoping that someone can give me some pointers, including when I should try to transplant it. It seems quite happy in my semi shade environment, although it has not bloomed. I'm hoping that is simply due to its youth. Its fall colors have been absolutely stunning, the best of all my trees.

    Any advice reagrding this quite vigorous tree would be much appreciated.

    David
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    if you wanted to move it, late winter would be best. When I worked for a nursery we would do most of our field tree digging in february through about April depending on the weather. make certain to dig a reasonable sized rootball and tie it firmly. If you are uncertain on how to dig and then tie a rootball try going to your local nursery and see if there is someone there that is proficient at it. For an eight footer you would probably want about a 14-16 inch rootball, use some bone meal when you transplant and also consider adding a mycorizzhae product also (check the package to see if Stewartia is listed as a plant that responds to the particular strains included). I find the Stewartias are hard to grow with a straight trunik for their first few years and need proper staking until they get a nice woody stem, at eight feet you should find that it is beginning to get a nice framework for secondary branching. For the record, Stewartia has been one of my favorite trees the last few years. Great fall colors, great bark texture and appeal, nice flowers and great bud set and fruit set.
     
  3. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thank you so much. I will try moving it in mid to late February depending on the soil condition. It has grown almost straight up with some side branching that I have just started to prune this last year. I think it is going to be a beauty, but I see it will be larger than I thought. I planted a small Stewartia 'Skyrocket' last year that I hope grows as fast. It did bloom--heavily, in fact--even though only 18" tall or so, and was beautiful, fall color, too. That one is between the sidewalk and the street, and it needed to be staked.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    2 feet per year is considered slow for a tree, although I agree you wouldn't necessarily expect this from Stewartia ovata. Does it look true-to-type, with a somewhat sinuous, often sideways branching habit, or does it have the straightish shoots and more or less decidedly erect orientation of one of the much more commonly cultivated Asian species? (S. pseudocamellia can grow perhaps as much as 2 feet per year when young and thriving).

    Late summer-autumn is the best time to transplant. Late winter-spring is actually a comparatively poor time, for various reasons, which people in cold climates (USDA 5 and below) are oblidged to use for some plants on account of the risk of winter injury to autumn transplants.

    Even commercial nurseries that ship barerooted stock in late winter-early spring often dig it in November, overwinter it in cold storage.
     
  5. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting. I would say that its vertical path is somewhat sinuous, yes, and there are side branches about every couple of inches, some of which are stronger and have developed. It is these weaker ones that I have pruned to have it take a form with a bottom trunk and then branching. I left a strong low branch that I staked to make more vertical.

    Something I have found very interesting is that the branching is basically in two dimensions, from one side to the other, but not all arond the tree. I found that very curious. I got the tree from a pretty reputable Oregon nursery that specifically noted the ovata with descriptions that had me choose it. The Japanese Stewartias are readily available here.

    This has fairly large leaves, too, perhaps a little longer than what I've seen for more typical nursery variety. Much larger than the "skyrocket".

    I'm an architect, married to a botanist, that wishes he had gone to Ag school at UT (Tennessee) instead. I have a fairly large Japanese Maple collection, with significant punctuations like this. I know from the maple forum that many trees are mislabeled at nurseries, and perhaps this was. But whatever, it is beautiful. Growth rate is interesting. I guess compared to the maples, it seemed like weed growth!

    Should I wait until August/Sept and a little more height to transplant? That would be OK with me, its not an emergency, but will be necessary.

    David
     
  6. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    First off I want to state that I am not trying to pick a fight with Ron B. :) I read his post regarding transplant time and decided to read a bit and see where it took me.

    I have transplanted Stewartia and a good variety of other winter dormant shade trees and generally we did the majority of the digging and balling in January through about April, we did do some diggin in Fall but, I thought about why this was. What I think is that since the nursery business (retail and landscape generally) is seasonal with Spring being by far the most active, this is when the nursery needs the trees so they may be dug when it is not necessarily the most beneficial time for the plant.

    That being said, I flipped through Micheal Dirrs book, Manual of Woody Landscape plants, 5th edition pg 969 which refers to Stewartia ovata. The section on Culture says this "...somewhat difficult to transplant and should be moved as a small (4 - 5' or less) container or balled and burlapped plant in early Spring..." I offer this as the opinion of a respected author. Culturally we may all have different opinions and the one you choose to abide by would be the one that seems most prevalent for your area and climate. I am reasonably familiar with what to expect in my locale but I wouldn't want to guess what happens in yours.

    My thoughts on a fall transplant benefit would be the fact that roots continue to grow through the winter so perhaps the plant would have a headstart of sorts vs. something that would have had its roots pruned (dig and transplant) in the Spring.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    New roots don't grow out of the cut ends of mature roots until spring, so north of USDA 6 you don't want to plant barerooted or balled in burlap stock in fall. It will mostly just sit there, exposed to the elements, without an established root system to keep the top hydrated. Fall-planted container stock, with mostly intact root tips doesn't have much root activity in winter, either. However, such specimens make alot of root growth (60% of the annual total) right after planting, if installed early enough.

    "Contrasting spring vs. fall conditions supports fall planting of container-grown nursery stock, where the root system is not disturbed at time of planting.

    Spring:

    Day length increasing
    Air temperature warm (increasing)
    Soil temperature cool/cold
    Soil moisture good to excessive
    Soil oxygen level low to moderate
    Leaf water loss (new leaves) high
    Stored energy level in the plant low (after spring flush)

    Fall:

    Day length decreasing
    Air temperature cool (decreasing)
    Soil temperature warm
    Soil moisture fair-good
    Soil oxygen level moderate to good
    Leaf water loss (old leaves) low
    Stored energy level in the plant very high"

    Source: Whitcomb, Carl E. 1987 (1991). Establishment and Maintenance of Landscape Plants. Stillwater, Oklahoma: Lacebark Inc.
     
  8. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I really appreciate the advice here. It would seem that I'd best look at a late winter transplant with as large a root ball as I can get, and then take extra care, of course, with nutrients and water. We can get very hot spells here in May, then have cool, wet summers like last year. (USDA 6b/7, but coastal). The real threat is either a hot dry summer, like we had two years ago, or an extremely cold and windy winter like last year. The winter threat seems worse for a transplant, although so far this year is great. I've successfully transplanted two mature hortensias, that seem to be fairly sensitive to transplanting. After two seasons all seems well. I haven't lost many things, but I'd hate to lose this one.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  10. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Interesting paper about bone meal, definately something to consider. I know in the retail market its a staple comment when people purchase plants to get them bone meal. Some people are now changing that to mychorizzae but that is limited by species response. I am curious about the bone meal solubility though, I was always told it was a slow dissolver and not a good translocater so it wasnt supposed to provide a flash of nutrient or mineral availability and hence wouldnt burn the roots. If it doesnt translocate well then the high concentrations would be quite localized when it dissolved? I have always been wary of the liquid transplant solutions that had NPK and IBA or NAA in them, I found that people would not mix them right or that they wouldnt irrigate well enough and it seemed to burn quite easily. I havent done any scientific test mind you, just my own theorizing.
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Just a few quick notes:

    A late Winter transplant will be like rolling the dice. If you
    get hit with abnormal cold soon after transplanting you will
    wish you had not ever proceeded with the transplant.

    We have been programmed here for years to transplant in
    the Autumn. The reason why is that as pointed out the soil
    is warmer than in the Spring, the temps are generally warmer
    than in the Spring but the main reason is so the roots have
    some time to adapt before the onset of cold. In a Zone 7
    here, in which nearby Foothill communities comes to
    mind, transplanting is done in mid August as they are
    expecting in most years to experience some cold around
    the 1st week of October. Here, we transplant around the
    3rd week of September after the warmer temps usually
    have subsided. October in a warmer climate is generally
    regarded as a good time to transplant trees.

    One of the biggest mistakes we make is when we act or seem
    tentative about transplanting a tree whether it is 8' feet tall or
    50' tall. Should we have real concerns about what to do ask
    for help but that help should be someone in person that has
    done these types of things. If the tree is important then
    spending a few bucks for a certified Arborist or a professional
    landscaper to assist or perform the transplant is a solid way
    to go. Get someone to help that has done it before to either
    do it for you or to guide you step by step on what you need to
    do to better guarantee a successful transplant of this Stewartia.

    Most Agricultural schools do not bridge well into the field of
    Horticulture. I know of several schools here that offer no real
    Horticulture classes as a foundation or as prerequisites for Ag
    based classes, even for us Plant Science majors. My initial
    degree was in Agronomy and at no time was a class in
    Horticulture even mentioned as a source for information
    useful for us Field Crop technology and management majors.
    We later learned, some of us did, just how important Horticulture
    is to Agriculture and vice versa but we learned that long after our
    degrees were already in hand.

    I think a clarification needs to be made about bone meal. In
    most saline to alkaline soils we have plenty of phosphorous
    either available to a root system or is bound up in the soil.
    The same is true for Calcium but our residual Calcium here
    is generally locked up. Here bone meal is not a standard
    planting tool nor is it widely recommended to help with
    possible transplant shock. Hormones seem to work better
    for transplant shock than bone meal will. It could be that
    I am missing something from the paper on bone meal but
    I think bone meal will have better use in acid soils or in
    hydroponic soils instead in which those soils are or were
    once thought of being known for lacking in phosphorous
    than in most but not all, of course, saline to alkaline soils.
    Another point is that even though it was regarded standard
    practice to place soil amendments in the bottom of the hole
    just prior to planting, we have or at least some of us have
    learned that it is probably better to add in the supplement
    into the soil mix as we are filling in and around the hole
    after the tree has been planted and then water in the mix
    well. I am totally against any and all amendments or
    fertilizers of any kind being placed in the bottom of the
    hole at planting time.

    Paul, you already know how I feel about hormones in solution
    are rather important. When we take softwood cuttings to root we
    dip them into a rooting hormone prior to placing them in sponge
    rock or our own mixes. What makes anyone think that if a rooting
    hormone is essential for aiding roots to generate themselves that the
    same active ingredients will not be beneficial to a plant later in its
    development? Most studies on the effects of Vitamin B1 or IAA,
    IBA and NAA that found no practical application to Horticulture
    are in my mind rather inconclusive, some studies are in fact slanted.
    When considering that without some of those hormones our studies
    in genetic engineering of plants back in the late 70's, early 80's
    would have all been for naught without some of them including
    the binder for us EDTA.

    Jim
     
  12. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thank you, too, Jim. I have generally planted/transplanted later in the fall here, so this is very useful. I had also thought of getting help from an arborist, and have done so in the past--especially if I wait until August when the tree will likely be a good deal larger.

    I didn't mean to be lacking in any details or respect to anyone's knowledge or specialty in mentioning UT's Agricultural School. They do have Ornamental Horticulture as a degree or major, I'm not sure of the specifics of the school or other majors, but one of my sisters has that degree. At that time they did not have Landscape Architecture, which I think I would have loved as a profession. It is just strange that life-long interests sometimes are not seen as paths of serious study by a person. I'm trying to learn more about plants now, and this site is a great resource, so much knowledge here. Brad Elmore recommended some books for me to read, also. I really love trees and other large woody plants, especially.

    I've used bone meal pretty regularly on the recommendation of a local nursery, and have some better plan based on these posts--and typically lined the bottom of the hole. What you say makes perfect sense. These plants bring so much pleasure, I want to make sure they thrive! I just wish I had a real property!
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Sample your soil and have it analyzed to see what fertilizaton, if any, is required.
     
  14. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It used to be that it was standard procedure to plant bare root and
    transplant in the Winter just like jimmyq wrote. Even in my travels
    to the Pacific Northwest a couple of Universities that I know were
    still recommending others to plant and transplant their trees in the
    Winter. We still like to plant our bare root Fruit Trees here in the
    Winter but we also know a lot of that is due to availability in that
    most bare root trees for planting are all gone from the wholesale
    growing nurseries by March and April here. So, we have had little
    choice at times to purchase the trees then when they are first
    available for purchase usually in December.

    We should not equate what goes on with certain plant root systems
    with other trees. Some trees root systems do indeed grow during the
    Winter in the warmer climates. The temps are not low enough to
    prevent the root systems from stopping their root initiation entirely.
    We know it is true here with Maples grown in containers that we
    will get some new growth during the Winter as we've pulled the
    plants out of the cans to check and see for ourselves. We also
    know that root development occurs in Winter for Fruit Trees also.
    We know that bare root trees potted up in December in retail
    nurseries will have in some cases filled in pots by the time the
    plants are available for resale in March and April. If there was
    not root development the soil would simply fall off the roots as
    soon as we lifted the tree out of the container and in most cases
    that just does not happen. So, there has to be some root growth
    happening during the coldest parts of our year here.

    How we equate what goes on in British Columbia, Washington,
    Oregon and Europe cannot be the same as what goes on here.
    In California we have perhaps the largest number of microclimates
    that there is any where in the world. There is a solid basis for the
    number of zones as referenced in the Western Garden Book. I
    personally do not pay particular attention to the USDA zones as
    they do not apply to me but they will for many people living
    elsewhere. Since the 60's most nursery people here commonly
    referred to the Western Garden Book as the bible for plants
    and from my own perspective I agree. It is the best all purpose
    publication written to date for ornamental plants. People from
    elsewhere may make fun of the book at times but there are only
    just a couple of people that have ever been well versed enough
    in the totality and in the number of plants listed in the book.
    Then we can ask who all has grown all of those plants mentioned
    in the book and the answer is no one has. Even today we still
    will see home gardeners as well as nursery personnel walking
    through nurseries with their WG book in hand, so we in the
    nursery had better know that book well or we are asking for
    trouble later with someone. No current day or past publication
    in plants has had as much far reaching and widespread appeal.

    Our views should be taken with a grain of salt depending on how
    things are done for our own areas. That is not something we
    should have to be overly concerned about people objecting to as
    how we transplant here can and will be different sometimes in
    how other areas, even in California will do things. It all comes
    down to what works for us and we have found over time and
    through experience we can plant and transplant any time we
    want here where I am as long as we know what we are up
    against with our growing limitations at specific times of the
    year. How and what we recommend to others elsewhere is
    the larger issue as just because I have planted and transplanted
    when the books say don't do it, is something that I cannot tell
    others to do either. Always side with caution, don't be afraid
    to ask for help if you are unsure of what and when to plant and
    transplant.

    Jim
     
  15. Anita Vairo

    Anita Vairo Member

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    Thankyou so much, you have all been really helpful.We just separated 25 herbaceous

    peonies and ended up with 148 plants. They are7-8 years old and very healthy. We gave them premium gold planters mix amended with peat moss and bonemeal then dipped
    all in hormex.( spelt wrong) Then we mulch everything and pray. What do you think?

    Sincerely, Anita Vairo
     

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