A month to dig or it dies

BonsaiBay

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I'm hoping to get some guidance on when to dig up a ornamental pear tree, now or a month from now. Here's the problem, the tree has already pushed its new growth. Leaves are out and flowers are in the middle of opening. However, I just found out that I can remove it if I want it but I have about a month to dig it out or the tree will be removed and trashed. It's about 15 ft. Tall and will be cut back to about 4 or 5 ft. tall. It's in clay soil with no roots for about a foot below the surface. The roots that a visible are two three or four inch thick roots and a few 3/4 inch thick roots. I'm only able to dig about 1.5 ft. out from the trunk. I'll take out a roughly 3 ft. diameter rootball/dirtball but will not have much, if any, roots as I'm going to have to saw the two massive roots out. I realize that the probability of survival is low but should I dig out the tree now or wait the month to dig out the tree in the hopes that it will regain some energy? Also, is it possible to get any viable roots to grow in a month? Cut open parts of the roots add rooting hormone in hopes of increasing mass prior to digging in a month.

Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
 

sorce

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If you're knocking all the foliage off it.....

Just wait the month and do it all at once.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Hack Yeah!

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Are you trying to move this to your landscape or create a bonsai?
 

BonsaiBay

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@sorce, it's good to be in crazy. The idea was to cut about 90% of the foliage off when I do the collecting. Whether that is now or in a month.

@Hack Yeah!, it will become bonsai. The size is because I didn't want to cut off everything after it's already pushed new growth for the year, trunk design, and trying to get some semblance of taper now, and not knowing exactly what to do with it yet.

Here are some pictures of the tree and trunk. And, I am aware of the reverse taper that it already has. WP_20180208_17_45_38_Raw.jpgWP_20180208_17_45_18_Raw.jpgWP_20180208_17_44_50_Raw.jpg
 

BonsaiBay

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@Victorim I'm not sure. That's part of my question. Do I have enough time to ground layer roots on the underside of the two large roots? So that when I cut off those roots they will have started growing new roots. Or, will doing that now negatively effect the trees process of accumulating energy needed to collect and survive.
 

jeanluc83

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If it is going to be junked anyway it might be worth it. It is going to be some real work to collect.

I would get a sawsall and cut all the way around it about a foot and a half out. Then get under to sever any tap roots. Chop the top to ~2 feet.

Once you have it out remove as much loose dirt as you can then wash the rest away. Cut the bottom flat and cut back any big roots as much as you can.

Plant it I'm a free draining mix and see if it makes it. If it does don't do anything to it for at least a year. It is a lot of work all at once but it is going to be the strongest right when it is collected. There is also a good chance that it will not make it so take it as you will.

I have done this a couple of times with good results but it was before the tree had leefed out.
 

sorce

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Dunt look worth the effort.

Two separate trunks means probly uneven Nebari at best, then all your keeper trunk is unbarked "from clay", which is also where you need it to bud, which may be difficult.

Sorce
 

BonsaiBay

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Thank you all for the advice. I will wait the month to collect the tree, hoping the new foliage can harden off and build some energy. While it does have it's flaws, I'll use it as a learning experience. I'll probably dig out the rootball/dirtball in hopes that it will have some roots in it to help it survive. A few years from now, if it survives and is health, I'll determine if and how I'll ground layer it.

Thank you again,

BonsaiBay
 

GrimLore

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Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Why don't you leave it in the ground, trench the roots(shorten them) and trim, cut, grow it until the proper time to remove it?

Grimmy
 

BonsaiBay

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@GrimeLore I'm not sure I can get away with digging that far out or time. Not my yard and they have a fence and garden box a couple feet away on the slope. Also, I have a month before it needs to be out and don't know if I have enough time to grow viable roots that will make a difference with the collection processes. Especially since I don't have control over watering with the temperatures and lack of rain we've been having, here, in The Bay.
 

Joe Dupre'

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At this point, you don't have much choice. I'd dig the most roots I could and put it in bonsai soil or even good potting soil and hope for the best. Whether it lives or dies, you (and we) will have learned something. Don't underestimate failure as a learning experience. Last year I successfully collected a large cypress tree 4 MONTHS after what's considered prime time in this area................and I think our USDA zones are pretty similar.

Look at collecting this way. If you could magically and surgically dig up every root in a tree's root ball without disturbing them, you could theoretically dig up a tree at ANY time of the year. It would be no different than moving a tree in a large container around on your patio.
 

Potawatomi13

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wait the month to dig out the tree in the hopes that it will regain some energy? Also, is it possible to get any viable roots to grow in a month? Cut open parts of the roots add rooting hormone in hopes of increasing mass prior to digging in a month.

Yes, wait month so root energy moved upward already. Strongly support root hormone application to desirable root stubs after digging as might help. Not before! Got some big digging to do. Build bigger box get all roots possible. Nice bark and decent hopeful trunk. Best of fortune with this:cool:!
 

BonsaiBay

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Well, it's done. I did it on Monday. I'm glad I dug up the first foot last month, as it was still a pain and took a while to do. After digging down another 6 inches I was able to find 2 more large roots (4 large roots in total now). I potted in a large box I built.

Here are the pictures:WP_20180322_12_25_56_Raw.jpgWP_20180322_12_25_19_Raw.jpgWP_20180321_16_10_58_Raw.jpgWP_20180319_15_45_32_Raw.jpgWP_20180319_15_09_41_Raw.jpgWP_20180319_15_09_21_Raw.jpgWP_20180319_11_39_31_Raw.jpgWP_20180319_11_39_23_Raw.jpg
 

sorce

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Wicked flare!

Kinda sucks though cuz now it MUST live!

Best!
Good skill!

Sorce
 

jeanluc83

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I would have liked to have seen more fine roots but I still think there is a chance of survival.

After seeing it boxed up I think it was worth your effort. The lower part of the trunk has some interesting movement and some good looking mature bark. if it survives collection you will have a really nice tree in a few years.

Good luck.
 

Potawatomi13

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Good LUCK:rolleyes:. Perhaps application of liquid rooting stimulant may help?
 

BonsaiBay

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@sorce I agree, it quickly became my favorite tree. I'm praying that it survives. While I did apply rooting hormone powder on during potting, could I apply liquid rooting hormone occasionally to the sides of the large roots at soil level so it runs down to the exposed bottom of the root, like @Potawatomi13 suggested?

@jeanluc83 The soil at this property is horrible. Pure clay all the way down. I would have like a more fine roots but they just don't exist. It seems like the feeder roots were either super deep or scattered across the whole property and neighbors property. I've remove a couple other plants from here and they're all the same.

The lower part of the trunk is very interesting. Where the roots flare out to 6 inches up is all root. You can actually stick your chopstick throw to the backside. From that point to the reverse taper looks to be where the roots flushed together, so in my opinion I don't consider it having any reverse taper anymore. It has about 8 to 10 inches of exposed root up into the sky.

Thank you all,

BonsaiBay
 
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