Moving a Lace Leaf Japanese Maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by EPP1950, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Hello, new member here, just found this site today while looking for information on moving this tree.
    I have the possibility of acquiring a Red Lace Leaf Japanese Maple that stands appox. seven foot tall and has a spread of appox. nine foot. Because of its location in the owners front yard it would probably have to be hand dug so I'm looking for any information that would help in making a successful move. All my tree moving experience is twenty years old so I'm worried I might miss something.
    The trunk of the tree is about four to five inches in diameter about fourteen inches off the ground below that its much thicker. (possibly from grafting?) My thoughts so far are that the ball would have to be at least three and a half foot in diameter and probably two and a half tall and that I should wait for the leaves to fall, probably about three weeks form now. I'm also wondering how much should probably be pruned from the crown, and if I should do this before the move. I looked at the tree just once so far, but I'm planning on looking at it again to have a better idea of what I'll have to do. Any advice given will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am not a field grower but I would think that you would need a little bigger root ball than you are expecting.

    Here is a chart that I found with rootball standards.
    http://www.landscapeadvisor.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/nursery.standards3.gif
    This shows that a tree with a 4-5 inch diameter should have between a 3.5 foot and 4.5ft diameter rootball, but this is for a tree 5-6ft tall tree. Your tree is slightly taller, so may need to get between a 4-4.5ft rootball, especially if your tree's diameter is closer to 5 inches than it is to 4 inches.

    You are very smart to think that you should wait until the leaves fall off and the tree goes into dormancy. I would suggest using vitamin B or Kelp in the new hole that you are transplanting it to reduce shock of the root system.

    I would be scared to death to dig such a large tree if it had not been root pruned, but I normally a container grower. I am glad that I am not having to dig this whole. It takes me long enough to plant a maple out of a 15 gallon pot. Good luck with the tree!
     
  3. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply and the table (very useful). I decided to call a local tree spade company to see what they might be able to tell me, got lucky, and the person I spoke with gave me the name and number of a guy who has hand dug trees for years. Went with him to see the tree yesterday, and aggreed on a fee with two of us
    working together. Feel better having someone experienced to work with, the company I called gave him a good recommendation, said they have had him hand dig trees in the past that they couldn't use a tree spade for. I'm going to try and post some pictures of the tree being a new member with dial-up internet service we'll see how it goes. No luck with my first attempt to add pictures will try again tonight.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  4. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Here's "The Tree"
     

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  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Maples like yours are dug out and transplanted all the time with good success rate.
    A strong advice is that you should not prune the top at all, for two reasons:

    1) Modern horticultural practice has shown that pruning does not help and may increase the chance of failure.
    2) If you prune, it will take several (many) years to eventually recover the beautiful shape.

    I am sure that many other readers of this forum would agree. So, do not listen to your expert if he (or she) insists on pruning (which may be motivated mainly to facilitate his task of uprooting)

    Gomero
     
  6. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Gomero,
    Thanks for your thoughts, and we did move the tree without doing any pruning, although I would say that about six or eight small branchs were lost during the move. As it turned out I was no able to wait for the leaves to drop, but the tree appeared to be well headed into dormincy when we dug it. It took about three hours to dig it, about an hour and a half to tie the ball and add the burlap; then about another two and a half hours to move it to the street and load it on the trailer (the hardest part). Had it in the ground and was watering it by one pm. the next day. The tree appears to be during well, now I just have to wait for next spring. Included are two pictures,one of the ball and one in the ground (the second is a little blurry )
     

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  7. FreeFlight

    FreeFlight Member

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    WOW! It looks like you did an excellent job!!! I hope and also think that the tree will be great in it's new spot. Maybe temporarily shading it on the hottest summer days for the next few summers would help? Beautiful tree!!!
     
  8. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm guessing that you did not need a root ball 2.5 feet deep.

    Maybe 14 to 16 inches deep? 12 inches?

    I've seen photos from arborists who have just removed all the soil from the roots before, kept them moist and sort of "mudded-in" the tree at the new location. Much, much lighter.
     
  9. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    FreeFlight,
    Thanks,for your comment. I read your post on the other thread, on moving a Maple, and was wondering what the species and size of the six trees you moved last year were, and what distance you moved them.
    As for shading it next summer, I'll consider it. The spot I placed the tree, although on the south side of our house, is shaded until about 10:30 am or so throughout the summer and then again after 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon.
     
  10. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    I'd don't think I'd ever try to bare root a tree its size. I'll leave that to the professional arborists. As far as root ball possibly being bigger than necessary, you could be correct, I'd be interested in hearing from others what they think.
     
  11. FreeFlight

    FreeFlight Member

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    I am far from an expert but the root ball you cut looks to be perfect (It looks to be shaped with laser precision!)I would not want anything different. I moved two unknown red laceleaf A.P.'s this year the same size as yours the first one was a similar sized rootball as well, it is doing great! The second one that was this size was a last minute rescue from a home owner that was repairing a water supply line directly below the tree in the middle of summer and had already cut half the braches off. The tree was planted in a three foot wide planting strip between the house and driveway. There was no root ball to speak of, so I bare rooted what was there then drove it 20 miles in the back of a pickup. Planted in full shade, it lost all leaves as expected by such torture after the transplant but has since leafed out along the main branches. I hope it survives! There were two other weeping laceleaf trees that were about 2-3" caliper one went in a whisky barrell one in the ground both are great! Make sure to update everyone next spring when buds break!
     
  12. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bare-rooting a tree of that size (when dormant!) will not necessarily kill the tree but will increase the chances for it of not making it vs. keeping a root ball.
    Concerning the size for the root-ball, it is true that Japanese maples have mostly superficial roots, so my guess is that one/one-and-a-half feet would have been adequate. However a larger root-ball will certainly not hurt, on the contrary ;-))

    Gomero
     
  13. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    By the way, one last word of strong advice: make sure that next season the tree does not lack water, (without drowning it, which could be equally bad) this is extremely important for successful recovery, specially in the spring. You would be amazed to learn how the tree could collapse if there is a strong unbalance between the water lost by the leaves and the water picked up by the roots. Since the tree has lost some root-mass in the process and it has kept most of the top growth, its main task next spring will be to grow new roots to balance the situation and, for this, ample moisture is essential.

    Gomero
     
  14. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That is a fabulous looking tree, and it looks as though you have been able to do a good job of moving it. I would have preferred to have it totally dormant ( i.e. without leaves) before moving but sometimes 'needs must'
    I hope it succeeds in its new home
     
  15. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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  16. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Back again, with another question about this same tree. The buds are about to pop,
    and there are eight to ten sucker buds on the lower portion of the trunk (below graft point). First question, do they drain strength from the rest of the tree, and if so ,can they be discouraged from returning. As you can see from the picture, I'm including, they seem to be a constant presence over the years. There were probably
    a dozen or more that were as much as two feet long that I trimmed off the tree the day of the move.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  17. FreeFlight

    FreeFlight Member

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    Those are dormant buds from the rootstock portion of the tree. If you do not want them simply rub them out with your thumb while they are still just buds.
     
  18. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, those sprouts will rob strength from the rest of the tree, they would even take over completely if allowed to grow unrestained. As mentioned above, rubbing the buds out at the early stage is the best way to get rid of the rootstock sprouts. If allowed to grow into twigs or branches before pruning this encourages the epicormic resprouting around the base of the cut twig, as seems to have been the case with this tree before you acquired it. If you keep rubbing them out at this stage, they will eventually stop coming back.

    Please post some pictures when the maple has leafed out.
     
  19. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Thank you both, for your quick replies. I was pretty sure of the answer, but wanted to make certain and was hoping there might be a method to stop them other than manual removal. After removing them in the cold morning rain, together with the roughness of the trunk from years of it suckering out like this, I'll probably be using a nylon brush to do this in the future.
    Maf, I plan on posting some pictures after it leafs out, here's one I took with the trunk pictures. I must confess I did prune it some when the buds first appeared, about three weeks ago. I felt that it was necessary as the tree hadn't been pruned in years and many of the tree's fallen leaves simply layed in the tangle of branches, rotting in the winter rains. Most of what I removed were actually smaller branches that had already died back.
     

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  20. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Here are some pictures of the tree leafed out. They are from one week ago, tried yesterday to take others with sky overcast but the first were better. Our digital camera leaves a lot to be desired, miss my old 35mm SLR camera that is still sitting on a shelf with no film in it.
     

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  21. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Here's two more pictures, starting to think about a Coral Maple next to it ( behind and to side) but need to finish the patio and walls that lead me to find this tree to begin with.
     

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  22. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You have done very well moving a tree that size successfully. Well done.
     
  23. OxfordWhite

    OxfordWhite Member

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    WOW! you did a fantastic job of moving and replanting that JM. You sir, have one beautiful tree.
     
  24. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    If I might ask

    EPP, could you take a few minutes to write about HOW you dug the tree out and B&B'd it - I am very interested in this regard.

    I am very curious to know what you did to create such a great looking root ball, and then how you lifted such a large tree+ball out of the hole!

    Outstanding work BTW, really top notch.

    Cheers,
    CSL
     
  25. EPP1950

    EPP1950 Active Member

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    Thank you all for your gracious replies, CSL I will write you a discription of how we dug the tree tomorrow, as I'm currently working a night shift that starts in a couple of hours and I'm still lubicating
    the gears with espresso.
    EPP
     

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