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Sepp Holzer's "shock method" of transplaning fruit trees?  RSS feed

 
Thea Olsen
Posts: 95
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
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Any experience with this?
I've recently moved from the house we were sharing with my in-laws for 4 1/2 years, and want to move my peach trees here, but they're a bit big. They just started bearing fruit last year. One is about 4' tall, and the other is maybe 6'. I was thinking the idea of transplanting them was a lost cause until I was rereading sepp holzer's Permaculture and came across his advice for moving fruit trees. I'm wondering if I could do that and how much of the root system I'd need to dig up.
Now that we've moved out, my in-laws are going to get rid of my garden and return it to lawn. They may keep the fruit trees, but then their lawn care company will girdle them with their weed-whackers. My plum tree already died because of that.
 
Milan Broz
Posts: 87
Location: Croatia
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It might work well, didn't try with peaches, but my friend tried something else that you might find useful. His pear was too tall for him, he want all fruits to be reachable from the ground. So he cut the top of the tree, shorted all branches and dug this tree top into the ground. Watered well, and now he has new pear, it is well establihed. From that experiance, I can tell trees without any root, and especialy with some root, can produce new roots under some circumstances.

I also transplanted some wild sorbus aria from the forest. They were growing from the holes in the hard rock so it was not possible to dig it out. I pull strongly this young plants and get it almost without any root, it broke up few inches below surface on all of them. Now I see, all 4 of them have new buds, one already has leaves. I did this in late summer or early autumn last year, and after transplanting, I removed long branches and all leaves and buds.
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Hi, I helped a friend move 5 apple trees around 5-6 years old. We made as big as a root ball we could handle, taking allot of time to trace out and pull up the longer roots. Because the soil was different where we moved them to, he also dug up 2 truck bed fulls of the dirt and we mixed that into the new holes... Also really trimmed down the trees, so far 2 years has past and they are doing okay. It's worth a shot in my opinion, just take the time and don't hack at the roots.
 
Bill Kearns
Posts: 159
Location: E Washington steppe
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In Bonsai, it is necessary to transplant mature trees every year or two. Best done when the tree is dormant. As said above, get as many roots as possible ... trim roots, don't hack them. The tree itself must be pruned proportional to the root trimming, ie, if you remove 1/3 of the roots, you prune 1/3 of the tree. Set the roots carefully in their new hole over a mound in the center, no "J" root placements and spread the roots around the perimeter and in layers if possible. Pack the soil down over the roots to remove air pockets and water copiously to set the roots and soil level. Watch the placement of the tree's "bole" (transition point between tree trunk and roots). Tender care till the tree gets itself established. Good luck!
 
Mary James
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
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Root trimming as a shock method goes way back in time as a way to get trees to start forming fruit.I have not read the Holzer methods. So what I talk about is just going to be from my own experience. In my Zone 4/5 in Montana.
Since your actually talking about moving healthy trees that have established themselves enough to produce that becomes a bit different..Basically when we move something the size your talking about for the best chance of survival we prefer to do it while the tree is dormant.. Early spring or Late fall...If your in a cooler region now is okay but dormant season is ideal...As the tree recoups much better..When doing this we would prune and not allow fruit production the first year catering to the root development..
When we owned our tree spade that made it much easier..On people and trees if you can afford someone to do this versus the tree value your more likely to have success...To add less stress to the tree if you have to move it we suggest you go around the outside of the drip line and sever the roots there first,, water the tree well,,, I usually add in a bit of kelp and some other goodies like molasses and other goodies(the vitamin b and such) that help the tree to handle the upcoming stress from moving..The next day lay a tarp out next to the tree and start digging it out,, Preferably you want as much root as possible so the closer you can dig out to that drip line the better..When you are cutting through the roots it is less stressful for the trees to follow the previous advice about gently cutting and trimming the roots versus yanking them around.Shovel cutting is fine if your spade is sharp enough..But hand trimming is suggested after the tree is out..This will promote good root growth after moving..We usually suggest a good three to four feet deep for the larger roots that go down.The more of this the better the tree survival chances..Once you have the tree out make sure you wrap it well with damp soil, peat or even damp sawdust to keep the roots moist..Small feeder roots cannot take the drying out...Wrap well in plastic or tarp and get planted as quickly as possible..I use willow water on all my transplants like this along with the kelp and molasses based teas to help the tree handle stress but also to kick root growth into gear.Willow water is an old well known root tonic..Keep well watered and you will probably have to use the post and anchor system for the first couple of years until the roots are established enough to hold the tree in ...Your also going to have to prune these and do some baby watching as the amount of roots you take off are going to cut off are going to affect the size of the tree as Bill explained goes on with bonsai..
If this was me and I valued the trees I would wait until they were dormant for the higher success rate if possible..Now sure about the holzer methods for this type of thing,, your climate here can make a big difference in how the trees handles the stress of the move..They do much better in cooler weather,,
Any how maybe it offers some thoughts for you to consider..
Mary
 
                          
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I haven't read about his method. But I have transplanted plenty of fruit trees. At fruiting age- they will often fruit the year transplanted (buds already there)- but then take a year or two off due to stress. Probably best to pull young fruits off the first year as well.
My suggestion would be just buy new fruit trees... Put some plastic pipe around the trunks (or tree guards) and all will be good.
Two years ago I purchased a 6-7' apple tree. It fruited last year (first actual spring since planting)- but apples were tiny and hard. Surely from stress. This year... no flowers!!
 
Thea Olsen
Posts: 95
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
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Holzer's method involves laying the tree out in the sun with a damp towel over the roots to protect them while making the leaves wilt and fall off, then plant it.
However, since it turns out my in-laws are staying in that house for a while yet, I think if I move the trees I'll wait for them to be dormant. That's a big "IF", because I was there yesterday and realized I had underestimated their sizes by quite a bit: the smaller one is now taller than me, and I'm 5'8".
Looks like just buying new ones might be the better option.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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we live near a dirt country road where there are lots of trees that often grow too close to the road (or to other trees where they won't survive)..also when they grade the roads sometimes they will grade deep off the sides of the road and partially uprooting some young trees..

so yeah..

we used to go on drives into the nearby woods and we would "pull up" from the roots baby trees and bring them home and replant them..

we have replanted about every kind of evergreen that we have on our property by this method and several maple trees, a box elder and lots of ash (which we are losing now to emerald ash borer)..they all did well.

I have actually pulled up trees up to 4' tall in swampy areas as their roots are not well secured..but the drier areas most of them were a bit smaller than that..

all of the black spruce in our yard were pulled up in a swamp north of us..and replanted here..some are over 40' tall now.

I have pulled up white pine, red pine, hemlock, spruce, maple, ash, elderberry, currant, gooseberry, box elder, roses, lots of other small shrubs..haven't tried fruit trees
 
Chad Johnson
Posts: 46
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Anybody know a source of old varieties of fruit trees? I'm looking at Sepp's list in his book but coming up empty handed. I'd be willing to trade or purchase if anybody is interested. I've got a black currant with giant sweet abundant explosive fruit smuggled out of Russia in the 80's. Also have organic fresh chevre that can be insulated and shipped out. Cheers!
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Old varieties of many fruit trees are available here:
http://www.treesofantiquity.com/

Their specialty is old, heirloom varieties. Many rare varieties are grown there.
Most of their trees are certified organic (but not all...read the catalog carefully if it is important to you).

Personally, I have never bought from them, but do know several people who have.
Never heard a complaint.

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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So I was talking to a bonsai master a few months ago and this topic came up for some reason or another. It turns out there is a japanese bonsai method that is pretty much exactly like sepps shock method. If I remember correctly it was called motodome or something similar. Used for the same reason to repot a tree after it has leafed out or to reduce the size of the leaf for shows. The leaves MUST be cut off not ripped, and every leaf has to come off, none remaining

I've withheld this info because of a test I am trying, and now that it has worked I am posting. I got a discount peach tree like sepp that was in leaf and still in the sawdust package. I cut every leaf off and trimmed a few roots, planted the tree and watered it. For weeks the tree looked dead, I had low hopes of recovery. A few days ago the tree burst into life.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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