Growing Weeping Cherries in Colorado.
Last year in early spring, I purchased a dwarf weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’ x Var unknown.) It was to be a focal point nearing the front entry way. After one season I realized that although called dwarf, its branches were already hanging over the walkway and would become a maintenance nightmare if it remained where it was.
Taking advantage of an early warm day last week, I got to work digging.
I first had to remove a flowering bush (maybe an almond?) to make way for the cherry. The almond had an untidy growth habit and I could never bring myself to like the poor straggly thing. Its removal was the task holding me back from moving the cherry last year. As it turned out the root system of the almond was quite brittle, making its removal a cinch after trimming its branches back to a few main leads. This took all of 20 minutes to finish.
Then on to the cherry. I didn’t think the root ball would have expanded too much past its original ball in one season’s growth. I of course was wrong and did not bother to follow the instructions from Plant Talk Colorado’s advice on transplanting trees, other than choosing early spring to dig it up. If I had, I would have looked to professionals for the job. See http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1717.html
So we shall see if the lovely tree lives through my misguided attempt at transplant. Below are the steps I took.
I began digging about about two feet from the trunk or twice as wide as the original root ball. I dug a trench around this line so that I could get at least a foot deep before angling my shovel in towards root ball. I dug another foot down angling my shovel at about a 45 degree angle in towards the center of the tree. I pushed my shovel in towards the tree to firm up the soil against the original root ball so I had a good ball to work with. Then slowly I began moving my shovel farther under and towards the center while gently pushing down on my handle to push the ball upwards. I did this again and again all the way around the tree being careful not to use too much upward force so as to keep as much of the roots intact as possible. You can somewhat see the width of hole in the photo.
I had what I thought was most of root ball. Wedging the ball upwards, I pushed shovels in at three equidistant points to keep the root ball aloft while I either cut or dug up straggling root. Once the root ball was free of entanglement, I carefully lifted it onto a heavy duty garbage bag. It weighed only 40 or 50 pounds so I didn’t get as much roots as I’d hoped.
I dragged the transplant across the grass to its new home near the stone wall at the north east edge of the yard.
I widened the hole created when removing the almond two at least twice the width of the cherry’s root ball. This will allow nice fluffly soil for new roots to expand in. The hole was also slightly shallower than the root ball. This will ensure water runs at a slope away from the trunk, so water doesn’t puddle next to the trunk causing rot. To promote root growth, I then spread a half cup of bone meal in the hole. I placed the tree making sure to step back and note the angle of the trunk and insure it was upright as well as turning the best view of the tree towards the house. I then backfilled half way, tamped the soil with my foot, and added a little more bone meal. I finished by giving the tree a good soak.
In its new spot, the tree will have sun in the morning and then be shaded most of the day by the silver maple. It will probably receive a couple hours less sunshine than its old home, so it will be quite interesting to see how it does.
Shovel x 3