Resources for moving old 15 ft rhodo

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by ERgarden, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. ERgarden

    ERgarden New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I have a chance to move two old rhodos before a neighbour's house is demolished. One is quite old, about 15 ft, the other is about 8 ft. I would be moving them a block. I am wondering who might advise me on whether these can be moved and who could do it for me if it s feasible. They are quite wonderful rhodos, especially the big one. It seems a bit of am ambitious project, but a worthy one, to save these plants.
     
  2. Anna Kadlec

    Anna Kadlec Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South Surrey, Canada
    Yes it's feasible. I've moved several (dozens actually) of large rhodos around my 1/2-acre yard. The roots are quite shallow so it's not too difficult to dig out a good rootball. The difficulty is moving them from point A to point B. For really large rhodos, we enlisted the help of several of my husband's friends to wrestle the large rootballs and used a come-along to coax them across the yard. Once I even pulled one across the yard by attaching a rope and dragging it with my car. Rhodos are very resilient and usually respond well to being transplanted. I'm afraid that my circumstances have changed since then, so I would not be able to help you personally, but I am sure that there is a landscaping company out there that would take on the project. They would probably use more civilized means for moving the rhodos (crane / flatbed truck). Good luck!
     
  3. ERgarden

    ERgarden New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Thanks for the response and to hear you have had success. Part of the root system of the big rhodo is under the edge of an old garage which complicates matters because ithe garage won't be torn down until after the developer takes possession and clears the lot. The challenge for me is finding the expertise to assess the situation and skilled muscle to do the job by late August at the latest.
     
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    gulf island, bc, canada
    Cut them well back, to stubs if you need to (they'll leaf out again in the spring), dig as much rootball as you can. If you have to leave a chunk under the garage, c'est la vie. Strap the rootball to a hand cart or put it in a wheelbarrow by laying the barrow on it's side, rolling the rootball in, and lifting the far edge of the barrow to get it upright.

    Have wet burlap or old sheets on hand to wrap the rootball during transport, and keep it from drying out. Replant immediately, or heel it in somewhere. Water in well (very well...puddle it in, no air spaces around the roots), mulch.

    I've moved some very large old rhodos this way, and most survive and push out new growth in the spring. They are, as already mentioned, pretty tough. Done this way, not a ton of 'muscle' required, just one strong guy/gal and some determination will suffice.
     
  5. ERgarden

    ERgarden New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    How big a root ball? How far down and how wide should we try to get the root? Do we jus chop off any routes beyond hat or that are inaccessible until the edge of the garage. What kind of weight would we be dealing with for the big tree? Thanks for ny help?
     
  6. pbear

    pbear New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    saskatoon
    yes i agree it can be moved......first things first.....dig it's new home, this hole should be dug almost twice as big as you think the root ball will be.fill the hole with water. then go dig out the bush.the wheel barrow story sounds very good. When you begin to dig it out start at the water line and loosen the soil with a square spade, once this is done all around you will have a good idea how big the root ball will be. move the soil back from the edge a bit and see how far down the main ball goes...try to remove as much of this as possible. When you get to the back by the garage remove as much soul as possible to expose the roots and be ready with a good sharp straight edge knife or better a clean hand pruner.when you have exposed almost a round ball of roots use the pruner to cut the biggest roots and as many others as well. Once the plant is free and in the wheelbarrow.use the pruners to remove any roots which are not perfect. just like pruning tree remove any roots that cross over any others keep several of the larger and favour instead the smaller ones for removal, don't remove all the smaller roots. so now the roots will be clean.
    so now it is free, cleaned up and trimmed. take it to it's new home.
    for planting try to plant it at the same depth it was in in it's old home, so back fill the hole as much as needed to achieve this.pile the soil up around the bush and shake it gently to cause the soil to fall under into place at the bottom then water it in, mulch and don't water it again for at least a week, you don't want it to stay too wet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  7. Anna Kadlec

    Anna Kadlec Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South Surrey, Canada
    The size of the rootball generally extends past the drip line of the plant (i.e., as far outward as the tips of the branches), but old rhododendron roots don't mind a little pruning. As I said, the rootball is generally not very deep... probably less than a foot in most cases. I am attaching some photos of one of my historic rhodo moves so that you can see the size of the rootball relative to the size of the plant. In this case, the rhodo was significantly larger before we pruned it back to a more manageable size for the move. Also, in this case we used a come-along to pull the plant along the ground (using plywood for some protection for the root) but, for most of our rhodo moves, we successfully used the husband & wife wheelbarrow method described by others.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. ERgarden

    ERgarden New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Wow, thank you for the pictures. The one I am moving is large like yours. It is hard to see the detail of the roots in the shadow. I was thinking the 'root ball' included all the dirt around the actual root but from your pictures it looks like it is just the actual root, largely free of dirt that gets moved. Is that right?
     
  9. Anna Kadlec

    Anna Kadlec Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South Surrey, Canada
    Generally when transplanting any kind of plant, you should try to disturb the roots as little as possible. This means taking the soil along with the roots. However, in the case of manually moving large rhododendrons, this approach is impractical because the plant is already very heavy all by itself. We usually removed as much soil as was humanly possible in order to lighten the load. As long as you re-plant the rhododendron with good soil mixed with peat moss and water it well, it won't be bothered too much.
     
  10. ERgarden

    ERgarden New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Thanks for the help re: the rhodo move. A rhodo root ball is HEAVY and we ended up dragging it a block. So far, two weeks in, it looks like it is surviving. We will see how it goes. The pictures were really helpful to see what we were getting into. We only moved the 12 ft one. After that we realized moving the 20 ft one was beyond our resources. A wonderful tree, beautiful red blossom by the pictures. It will be sad to see it destroyed. Any takers? It has to be moved on August 30th.

    Again thanks for the guidance. It was great to save the one rhodo (and a vintage rose). There are some wonderful old gardens in Vancouver.
     
  11. Gutierrez

    Gutierrez New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    3507 Midway Road Fort Smith AR 72908
    Rhododendrons are indeed heavy especially healthy ones. Moving the 8-foot one would be enough challenge, more so the 15-foot one. I agree with Anna that you don’t really need a whole root ball, especially since you’re only transferring them nearby and would be replanting immediately. It might be a good idea though to use the soil dug up from the old area to cover the one in the new area. I had a similar experience before, though they were not rhodos. They were very young almond trees, ranging from about 12ft to 18ft. We started with the shortest one, thinking it would be a straightforward job, and we finished it in one day. We decided to monitor it first to see if the transplant was successful. Unfortunately after a week we started to see signs of it dying, leaves were falling faster than normal and new leaves have a wilted look. Took us a while but we managed to save it, fortunately. But for the rest of the almond trees we consulted a local arborist from http://www.jimstrees.com.au/ and they told us we may have messed up the roots too much. We decided to just let them do it as they had the tools and experience, so far none of those transplanted have died. Hope this helps.
     
  12. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Anacortes, Washington, USA
    Rhodies re-root easily. Your big plant seems to be too tall to drag a branch down to the dirt, scratch the bottom of the branch. Put some rooting compound on the scratches, press it into the moist soil and wait for roots to grow. However, I would take several "starts" off the old bush and grow new ones. Pull a small(10 inches or so) branch off with a heal, dip in rooting compound and stick in dirt. Others may chime in with better methods but that has mostly worked for me. ;)))
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,743
    Likes Received:
    578
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Skip the peat - but do mulch after planting.
     
  14. rhodogal

    rhodogal Active Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sidney BC
    Yes, skip the peat, a mix of leaf mulch and rotted manure is better.
    Make sure when you plant the rhodo in it's new home to plant it at the same soil level it was before, so not mound the new soil/mulch or plant it deeper, rhodos don't like the top roots covered too deep or have compacted soil over them. That's why the plant will do better with mulch rather than heavy clay soil.
    I have moved countless ones over the years, unless the plant is very leggy I don't cut them back. This way if you want to retain the original shape you can. It might need some thinning next spring but not necessary to hack back at this point.
    We have used a quad with a winch to help move the big ones, sliding a piece of plywood under the root ball can help with transport as well.
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,743
    Likes Received:
    578
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Do not amend planting hole back-fill of any tree or shrub. Peat, leaf mold, manure compost, bark, sand - makes no difference. You do not want to re-plant in a pocket or zone of modified soil that differs in texture from the soil around the planting hole.

    Top reduction of woody plants at planting reduces their ability to grow new roots and recover from disturbance. Food stored in stems and the trunk is what fuels the growth of new roots in spring.
     
  16. Miry

    Miry Member

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Gibsons BC Canada
    I am in the process of moving a very large rhodo as well and will have to hire someone to do it. There are a couple of large forsythia grown very close to it which I want to get rid of because they are way too high maintenance. The rhodo is going to be moved in front of the fence line as right now it is too close to the back of the house. People seem to plant bushes, etc too close to a house. I live on the coast so there is a lot of moisture and plants grow rapidly. Along the front of the house is a hedge with trees growing amongst it. I want to really get rid of all these trees as it just doesn't look right. Why do people plant trees within a hedge? I am hoping to have them removed as well as the stumps and put in the continuous laurel hedge. The laurel hedge is too high and I think it should be short so that the house can be viewed from that side. Basically all of this is hiding the house plus way too much shade. Do you think this is a good idea or should I just put in a nice fence? I know laurel hedges have to be trimmed once a year so it does get to be expensive. I have a laurel hedge along the property line in the back yard which I just let grow without any trimming. It is getting high but this gives the neighbour and myself lots of privacy and the birds seem to love it.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,743
    Likes Received:
    578
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Like many others in the region, your natural habit laurel hedge may be a source of infestation - when allowed to fruit Prunus laurocerasus spreads into nearby properties both developed and undeveloped. Some public parks here have entire complexes of Eurasian trees and shrubs forming thickets of alien growth - typical components are Ilex aquifolium, Cotoneaster rehderi (and others), Crataegus monogyna, Hedera helix ssp. hibernica (H. hibernica), Photinia davidiana (Stranvaesia davidiana), Prunus avium, P. laurocerasus and P. lusitanica. Some Seattle area sites also have numbers of spontaneous Acer platanoides on public land; until volunteers undertook control efforts one urban ravine had what must have been millions of seedlings surviving the early stages and beginning to grow up, in addition to numbers of already successful, larger examples.

    Along with P. laurocerasus several of these are still regularly offered by garden centers here.
     

Share This Page