planting a monkey puzzle tree

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Mary56, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Mary56

    Mary56 Member

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    Hi, I just bought a monkey puzzle tree from a private owner that no longer wanted the tree. They have grown it in a pot for quite a few years. It is about 6 feet or so tall. I would like to plant it in the ground but don't know if there are any special instructions or consideratioins I should take before planting it into the ground. It is in a very large plastic pot now. I don't know if I should try to buy a bigger pot or just plant it in the ground. They weather is very hot right now and I don't know if I should transplant it now or wait until fall when it is cooler outside. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I have always wanted one of these trees and don't want to kill it.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Full sun with a large space. This grows into a bizarre and commanding full-sized (landmark) tree that cannot be cut back without spoiling it. If you grow it in a tub and are liable to be changing residences you can move it with you that way - at least for awhile.

    Keep pot shaded, roots cool and moist but top needs good light. If going to plant out either put pot near spigot where easy to keep watered until then or plant out now with good mulching and irrigation - whichever situation it will be kept watered in the most surely. At planting time wash soil off outside of root mass and pull roots open, which are probably at least somewhat deformed by the pot. If necessary use small sticks to keep roots spread as hole is refilled with same soil that came out of hole, without modification. Stake securely for one year.

    Tree does not need rich soil or other special condition in this climate, other than full light. Does not like shading of the top at all, in nature forming open groves in the mountains in locations where there is little if any competition from other trees.
     
  3. Mary56

    Mary56 Member

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    Ron, Thank you for the tips. I don't know how big around the tree will be - not the trunk itself but the the branch spand so I'm trying to firgure out how much space it will need. I don't want the branches to get in the way for mowing around it because it's branches are quite prickly. I think it will need at least a 15 foot diameter. Does anyone know how much room I should plan for this tree? What diameter it will need to grow with its branch spread. I have picked a nice sunny spot for it but don't know if it will outgrow the diameter. I have picked a spot where it will be the only tree around. I have looked on-line trying to get some answers and looked at some mature pictures and while the tree gets very tall it seems the branch spread is about 15 - 20 feet maybe. I am nervous about this one because it is a rare find and I don't want to lose it. I can't just run down to the nursery and find another one this size that easily. I also picked up a couple of leyland cypress trees yesterday and they say they take up about 15 feet of space across as well but I don't think they get as tall as a monkey tree.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The cypesses will soon grow much taller and broader than the Monkey Puzzle unless shaded from the sides. The Monkey Puzzle will require decades to grow large. Unless on a dry site the Cypress grows like a weed, may break in snow or blow over due to its roots having become bound in container production nurseries that do not keep up with its rapid development.

    The Arboretum had a Leyland Cypress 80' tall with an average crown spread of 40' by 1993 (Van Pelt, Champion Trees of Washington State (1996, University of Washington, Seattle). A Monkey Puzzle in Bremerton was measured 72' tall in 1988; two others (Aberdeen, Skagit City) had average crown spreads of 43' during 1993 (Same reference).

    For more recent records of the Seattle specimen and locations of others in Seattle see Jacobson, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition (2006).
     
  5. Mary56

    Mary56 Member

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    Ron B. Thanks for the information. I didn't know the Golden Leyland Cypress would get that big. I just bought 2 of them along with the Monkey Puzzle tree and haven't planted them yet. Also, a couple of weeks ago I moved a 4 ft. Deodar cedar and now we are having a heat spell. It is loosing it's needles and I fear it won't make it now. I had gotten the tree from a private owner and dug it up and planted it last fall. I recently decided to move it to a more spacious spot and now regret that I moved it. It has been unusually hot here so now I am worried about planting the Monkey Puzzle tree in this heat. I have over an acre and am redoing the landscaping. I also moved some other trees and I think they have died. I have been busy moving big rhodies too and they seem to be OK. I want to plant the Monkey Puzzle tree and the leyland cypress in spots where they will not have to be moved later. I want them to have a permanent home. Recently planted some hydrangeas that aren't doing well in the heat either. I'm trying my best to keep things watered in this heat. Installed a sprinkler system to help.
     

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