Should I cut off the leaves to minimize water loss like I would with a cutting? I've got it sitting in some aged compost right now because he came by at 10 pm and I didn't have anything else I could do with it.
I can post pictures when I get out of work if they are needed.
Troy Rhodes wrote:For sure, you need to remove at least 1/2 of the leaves.
I would even cut the top half off, and then remove some leaves.
If you can give it 75% shade the first week or two, along with regular watering (but not overwatering).
I can definitely cut the top half off. Should I plant it in the ground at this point or just leave it in the pot of compost and take a wait and see attitude? I've got a willow in my front yard, maybe I should make some willow water to help stimulate growth?
Willow water wouldn't hurt anything.
In my experience, the faster they go in the ground, the better they do.
As Troy says, the faster you get it into a permanent home the better, you can prune branches or just pluck leaves, your choice but you do need to remove at least 1/3 of the leaves so it can't respire so much that it dries out.
When I get a new tree from the nursery I always prune the ball at least somewhat then plant and water in with a B-12 blend which stimulates those pruned roots to regrow with vigor.
A cut root will branch, creating two or more roots, each of those will put off a multitude of feeder root hairs (these are temporary in nature they grow, do their job, get old, die and new hair roots grow from the base of the dead ones).
Apricots are much more hardy. They can take a lot of abuse and come back.
Figs don't seem to have a tap root and are readily transplantable. Figs can be cut WAY back, and they seem to like it all the more.
Cherries --- not so much. I've transplanted one and it took 3 years before it seemed to get its groove back.
Avocados --- never. Once planted and established, they don't transplant at all.
Citrus --- much more flexible if the tree isn't very old. They have such fine feeder roots and not a single strong tap root. But like a fig, you want to trim them back aggressively.
I've never tried to move a plum, but I did move a pluot (very similar) and it did well --- it was stunted for a year, and has done well subsequently.
Take your time and dig a good hole, with a clear space for the tap root to extend straight down into the hold. Perhaps back-fill around the tap root with some fine soil so that it doesn't crimp or bend. Getting that right is, in my opinion, the most important thing if you want the tree to have a long and prosperous life.
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