Huge and annoying bush.... but dont want to kill it!!

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Creeping Jenny, Apr 18, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    So.... we bought this house last summer, re did the inside and now its outsides turn! This big bush is in the worst spot EVER! I want it moved so bad but my hubby thinks he will kill it digging it up. Any suggestions? Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'.
     
  3. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    You sure it won't more likely kill hubby to dig it up? ;) Just kidding and apologies to your husband. I have no idea, how this particular species will react, but most shrubs will survive nicely if you prune the top back by about the same amount as you lose in root mass, as will no doubt happen. I would not transplant it during summer heat (too hard on your husband as well as on the plant. As a broad leaved evergreen, the leaves will keep on transpiring all winter long, so I don't know if there is any advantage in transplanting it in fall instead of spring. Just make sure, you have a hole dug, before you dig the bush out and keep watering it well for some time, after transplanting.
    Best,
    Olaf
     
  4. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    LOL!!!! I kind of saw through that excuse too! Thats it, shes coming up next weekend!
    oh... would I prune it before or after the transplant? Thanks.
     
  5. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    I would wait until you have retrieved the thing, to assess the damage and then cut back roughly a similar amount of greenery as the root loss. As a rule of thumb you should have a planting hole with the same same diameter as the crown of the shrub, for small shrubs, but this thing is huge and you are not likely to get many of the considerable roots out, so I would dig the hole about 1/2 to 2/3rd of the crown dia. and 16 to 18 inches deep. You can prune it after you planted it or quickly before you move it out of the original spot, since it would be easier to move then. Just keep the roots moist and in shade, while you are doing the pruning.

    Good luck,
    Olaf
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Cutting back the top is of no benefit to the shrub as it is an organism like us with integrated parts. Growth of new roots after transplanting is supported by the top, reducing the top merely serves to reduce the amount of root growth after transplanting.

    A big and heavy soil ball will be required to move this size of a shrub successfully, probably it would be best simply to remove and discard it (it is a very common item). That stark white wall certainly does need some shrubbery, with the height of the building actually calling for a taller shrub at the corner than the laurel is now (not a huge specimen, as far as it goes) but with a pyramidal rather than a round shape.
     
  7. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Ron, the problem is a simple one: The less roots, the less water the plant can absorb. The more leaves, the more water loss through evapo-transpriation. If the output is consistently greater than the input, a shortage will develop. That is the same in the economy, in a plant and in my bank account.
     
  8. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    This bush sounds like a pain in the...

    Ron, the white is going sooner then later! We just have to decide exactly what we are doing with the outside of the house. You should see it when the sun is bright! Its totally blinding! Its a great place but what a fixer upper. Put it this way, its almost 30 years old and didn't have one update when we got it. Good thing for hubbies in construction!
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    >Ron, the problem is a simple one: The less roots, the less water the plant can absorb. The more leaves, the more water loss through evapo-transpriation. If the output is consistently greater than the input, a shortage will develop. That is the same in the economy, in a plant and in my bank account<

    To update your information, if interested, I suggest you start by trying any one of the last three titles by Carl E. Whitcomb listed at the link below. Colleges here with horticulture departments have them in their libraries, perhaps you also have comparatively convenient access to a collection there somewhere.

    http://www.lacebarkinc.com/books.htm

    Although there are a few errors, you can also find modern information on these web pages:

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda Chalker-Scott/Horticultural Myths_files/index.html
     
  10. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    Ill take a look! Thanks.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Classic book Garden Design Illustrated by John and Carol Grant (reprinted many times, last time by Timber Press) shows pictures of house walls similar in appearance to yours with attractive plantings in front, talks about various planting design fundamentals you may be interested in at this point in your gardening and gives lists of shrubs and other plants for particular situations. I have encountered inexpensive copies several times at a local used book outlet.
     
  12. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Ron, do you realize, that you are trying to make a case against pruning in general?
    Plants do indeed have the ability to establish an equilibrium between roots and top growth, but if the proportion is too much out of whack, their ability to do that is overburdened. In defence plants will often shed leaves to survive. I am not sure, if broad leaf evergreens have that ability to the same extent. Retraction of plant energy into the roots and re-growth for a new season is general for all deciduous plants usually in fall and even more so for spring bulbs some time after blooming. But here you are dealing with a broad leaf evergreen, where that process is minimal, if it exists at all.
    It is common practice in horticulture to balance root loss with top pruning. Every garden shop does it and throwing the titles of books at me, the contents of which are, at first glance at least, unrelated does not alter that fact.

    Of course it is preferable to move the plant with a large soil ball, but this plant is too large to do that by hand and trying to get a tree trans-planter or a backhoe into the back yard of a single family residence is a) costly b) usually difficult to accomplish and c) not warranted in this case. Naturally there will be a temporary setback in the growth of this plant, but it will most certainly survive the transplanting and the cropping back of some of the top growth.
    Best,
    Olaf
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Take more than a glance at Whitcomb's findings and then see what you think.

    Meanwhile:

    the practice of pruning the crown of a transplanted tree or shrub does not reflect what actually
    happens to the plant physiologically. In addition to interfering with the plant's ability to establish its
    roots, the removal of a significant portion of the crown also means the plant has lost biomass and cannot
    photosynthesize at its previous level. Thus, plants that have been top pruned are hit with a "double
    whammy:" part of their photosynthetic system is removed, and those resources that are left are directed
    towards new shoot development. It's no surprise that root establishment under these conditions is
    difficult


    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda ...ural Myths_files/Myths/Transplant pruning.pdf
     
  14. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Yah, so let's put this in perspective - the plant is not attractive and is in the wrong place to boot, so do you really care if it survives? And if it does not, a replacement or even a new, nicer plant costs $12.99 in a gallon pot. Is moving it really worth a coronary? Not for a second.

    If you do care about it, you could probably take cuttings (maybe even divisions, depending on base growth) from this one. As an alternative to moving it, if the risk to it frightens you, you could trim it back significantly - narrow it, clear the base, whatever.

    As for the argument brewing between Olaf and Ron, when I move things I don't prune them back but rather let the shrub decide what branches it will sacrifice in order to survive. When there are dead branches, I cut them off. Yup, sometimes they die, but... see first paragraph :-)
     
  15. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    Well, Im glad Im keeping everyone on their toes with this little debate! Of course now Im more confused! lol!!

    Karin, No I really wont cry if it dies, I would just hate to kill it! Maybe I should put it up for free on craigslist and someone who wants it can come dig it up themselves and deal with it! lol!!!

    Thanks everyone for your input! It is greatly appreciated!

    Oh! and I will check out that book for sure!
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Sample of what Whitcomb wrote in 1987 (1991) edition of Establishment and Maintenance of Landscape Plants (under Summary of Procedures, starting on p. 2):

    Following planting of bare root, balled-in-burlap or container-grown trees, remove only damaged branches or to aid branch spacing and development and appearance. Do not shear or prune branches indiscriminately. Evaluate branching carefully, consider spacing around the stem as well as vertical spacing and appearance. Remove branches that have very narrow forks as these will become particularly subject to wind or ice damage as they grow larger. These suggestions also apply to shrubs. There is no advantage to indiscriminately pruning one-third of the top of the plant as has long been recommended
     
  17. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Ron, these bare root, balled in burlap and container grown trees come with all their roots. These roots have supported the top growth "until now" and there is no reason to believe, that they won't be able to do so in the foreseeable future. But it is impossible to dig out by hand all the roots of a shrub of the size of the one Jenny proposes to move, unless you are able to employ the appropriate machinery to harvest it. Nurseries, which supply large plant stock have such machines, the stock is field grown and therefore accessible with the proper equipment to get out most of the roots with the plant.

    I of course do not know Jenny's property, but to access your typical residential back yard, you not only have to rent the machinery and take it to the property (and back), but you most likely have to take out a section of fence and roll the equipment across some landscaped garden. None of this is feasible for the typical home owner.

    Best,
    Olaf
     
  18. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Karin, this is not an argument, but an exchange of ideas, opinions, knowledge and experiences between one with superior academic knowledge and one with probably more practical experience "in the trenches".
    I trust, that we both will profit from it and along the way get Jenny thoroughly confused about it all, with the result, that she will follow your advice and take an axe to that poor innocent shrub. :(
    Best,
    Olaf
     
  19. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    Oh Im confused!! Ha ha! I thank you all very much for your advise. As for the fate of the bush.... my 4 year olds argument has won... the bush stays because her little chick-a-dee friends love sitting in it and she watches them up close from the dining room window! A little girl and the birds win, who could argue with that. I am going to trim it though!
     
  20. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    That's an excellent rationale for now, but you can still have a long term plan... it looks as though at the moment, the birds have nowhere else to sit and so that is their default perch. To give them something else, and also to distract visually from the detested bush, plant lots of other nice trees and shrubs elsewhere in the yard.

    The bush itself I would narrow down as much as practical, taking out stems from the bottom. Although you should look inside first and see what that will expose, if it's all bare you might prefer another plan, like making it a broad low cushion or an airier bush, both of which can also anchor a landscape nicely. Main point is that if you don't have a plan, it will remain an amorphous green blob because that is what its nature dictates. I'm sure there's stuff all over the internet about when best to prune these, and whether they sprout from old wood.

    You could widen that foundation planting bed, moving that rock or whatever edging you choose around outside the bush, and make quite a lovely foundation planting group there.
     
  21. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    Those birdies can not complain about places to hang out, thats for sure! Ive got a 2.5 story cedar tree, huge blue spruce and multiple other trees for them to sit in. Plus all of the bird feeders and houses. I think they are just taking over the yard! The other day I sat there and counted at least 5 different species of birds at the same time... and more then one of each I might add. A squirrel too! lol!

    The inside of the bush is pretty nice and full so I could take it down quite a bit with it still being healthy looking.
     
  22. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baltimore, Md.
    The one that should be removed is on the RIGHT side of the window. LOL
     
  23. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Don't these work well for topiary. Maybe you can prune it into an interesting free form. It's a ball at the moment so if something grows out sideways or above keep the growth and start trimming. Might be fun for the 4 year old. I have a Dutch privet that started off as a ball and it now has 6 more above it each one a little smaller.

    Liz
     
  24. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,673
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    >Karin, this is not an argument, but an exchange of ideas, opinions, knowledge and experiences between one with superior academic knowledge and one with probably more practical experience "in the trenches"<

    I've been gardening since I was 10 years old (I'm now 51) and have had a horticulture business since I was in my 20s. Whitcomb started to find out much of the dogma, still widely repeated today was false about 40 years ago. If you were to check out his publications or listen to him speak you would find out he was far from Ivory Tower.
     
  25. Creeping Jenny

    Creeping Jenny Active Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    lol!! Thats my husbands "dragon"..... dont ask! Hes special!! lol!!!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page