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Transplanting a walnut tree tomorrow... advice?

 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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I'm digging out a small walnut tree tomorrow, which otherwise would be chipped for mulch. The owner says it's 2 years old; I hope I've interpreted the picture correctly and it is 3-4ft, not 6+ ft...

I know it's a bad time to move it, and that it may very well die anyhow, but figure it's worth a shot.

So I'm considering defoliating it, vs pruning the top proportional to trimming of roots, vs no pruning.

Thoughts?
 
David Livingston
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I would firstly be prepared as these things have large tap roots ; Dig the hole where you are going to put it first and dig it deep . I would not bother to trim or defoliate it . then after you have planted it water water water .
Tomorrow water water water
Next week more water
 
Bill Bradbury
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hi Dillon,

I would defoliate the tree except for the topmost leaf or two, dig a deep hole and take as much soil and roots as possible.

My 2 cents,
Bill
 
Dillon Nichols
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Posts: 596
Location: Victoria BC
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Thank you both for the advice. As it turned out, there were complications!

It was surrounded by a porch on one side, a cement wall(only a few inches above ground, but continued deep underground) on 1.5 sides, and the remaining perimeter was crowded by plants which were staying, and the house with a big window. I ended up pruning it back per Bill's suggestion as without doing so I had nowhere to swing the mattock.

The tree was much bigger than I expected; I think it had been cut to the ground a couple years ago. The taproot made a 90 degree turn less than 2 feet down, which made things a bit easier.

The ground was very heavy clay, and between that and the cramped quarters removing the tree took 4.5 hours. Once I got it back here, digging the oversized hole to put it in, getting the tree to the hole, planting, and hauling water for it only took a couple more.

The soil it was in was so dense that even the fairly modest amount which remained on the rootball was too heavy to lift; I would estimate over 200lbs of awkwardness. Fortunately I could back the pickup right to the tree when loading, and between the owner and myself it was doable.

When unloading, I could manage a controlled drop onto a flexible plastic sled, which let me slide it to the planting location over the brambles and rocks with relative ease. Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Paricon-Flying-Carpet-Sled/dp/B004GF150Y

I soaked it after planting, and watered again a couple hours later; will keep on it tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 294
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I'd mostly defoliate and even provide shade if possible. It's worked for me.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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I got lucky with the weather, after a very hot, rainless start of the month we had lots of cloud cover all week, a couple light showers, and even a decent rain last night. Today back to sun and moderate heat.

It's 7+ ft tall, so I'm not going to try and shade it! The handful of battered leaves I left on top look no better or worse than when I planted it... continuing to water often and waiting to see how things progress.
 
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