How do you transplant large and small palm trees?

Image – Wikipedia / Flickr user Drew Avery

Sometimes we have to change the place of our plant, either because it takes up a lot of space, or simply because we want to put it in another part of the garden or put it in a pot. Although it is best to avoid reaching this point, since palm trees have delicate roots, sometimes there is no other choice.

The most indicated option, in these cases, is to transplant it; that is, extract it from where it is and plant it in another. Depending on the size of it, it will be more or less complicated, but regardless of how big or small it is, it is important not to manipulate the root ball too much (earth bread). So let’s know how to transplant palm trees.

What is the best time to transplant palm trees?

When it comes to transplanting palm trees, one of the things that must be known, yes or yes, is the ideal time for this transplant. This knowledge will help the plants have a greater chance of recovering. Therefore, you should know that they should not be transplanted in the middle of winter, which is when they are at rest, nor in the middle of summer because that is when they are most active. So when can they be put elsewhere?

Ideally, do it in springbut depending on how hot or cold it is, it can be done at the beginning, middle or end of the season. For example, if you are in an area where you know that frosts are usually registered in early spring but not in late spring, it is best to transplant it precisely when the season is ending.

These plants resume their growth when the minimum temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius, and when it no longer drops below 0 degrees at any time. If they are tropical species, like the Cocoa nuts (coconut tree), Cyrtostachys, Calamus, Veitchia, Raphia, etc., the minimum temperature must be 18ºC. It will be then, and not before, when they are better prepared to be transplanted.

How to transplant palm trees?

Let’s start with …:

Small palm transplant

View of the Chamaedorea cataractarum

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia // Chamaedorea cataractarum

When we talk about small palm trees we refer to those that still have a totally green stipe (false trunk), or that have not even developed it yet. Typically, these plants are only a few weeks / months to a few years old, so their height usually does not exceed 2 meters.

Generally, this case is much simpler than with the rest of palm trees, since practically transplanting a small palm tree is like transplant plants or a bush. You can do it with or without help, as it is not very complicated.

How is it done?

I recommend you to the day before the transplant, water the soil so that it is moist and not going to crumble. It is not necessary to tie the sheets, but if they are very long it is recommended so that you can work comfortably, especially at the base. If you do, use a rope, and don’t force them too much. When they are young they can break easily.

It is important that dig a trench around the planttrying to deepen until the root ball is good loose (about 40 centimeters). Keep in mind that the trench should be made at a distance from the stem. That distance will vary depending on the size of the palm tree, but for example if it is 1 meter high and the stem is about 4 centimeters thick, it will be about 20 centimeters. More or less, to calculate it you have to multiply the thickness of the trunk by five.

The next step is to extract it, carefully, with a laya (It is a kind of shovel, but with a rectangular and straight blade), or with a hoe but very, very carefully. You have to ensure that, if you use the hoe, the blade goes as deep as possible, so that it is below the root ball / root loaf.

Once it is loose, that is, the palm tree is no longer attached to the ground, wrap it in sturdy, hard plasticto be able to extract it easily and to be able to move it without it going to break or leaving the roots peeled or bare. Then you just have to plant it in a new area of ​​the garden, in a previously made planting hole, or in a pot.

It is vitally important that you try to do this whole process quickly, but without haste. Think carefully about what you are doing and why, try not to manipulate the roots too much, and when you have finished, give the plant a good watering. If you tied the leaves, it will also be time to untie them.

Large palm tree transplant

View of the dwarf palm tree

Image – Wikimedia Commons / David J. Stang

If the small palms are the young ones with green pseudo-trunks, large palm trees are those that already begin to have the typical false mature trunk of these plants. Its leaves are, therefore, larger, as well as its root system. Therefore, the transplant will be more complicated.

In fact, it would not be unusual for the plant to simply dry out after transplantation. And it is that many things can happen: root and / or leaf breakage, appearance of pests and / or diseases that will further weaken the palm tree, and so on. No plant is prepared to survive the transplant, for a simple reason: when the seed germinates, that plant will be subject to that particular site. It will never have the ability to walk, but it will not need it either since it can get food alone without moving, only with the energy of the sun, water and nutrients that its roots obtain from the ground.

But things get more complicated when we talk about palm trees. They are giant grasses (megaforbs), and not trees. They, like any grass, they have very delicate roots.

How is it done?

Some considerations must be taken into account when transplanting them:

  • You water the plant and soil the day before so that the earth is humid, and make a trench at a certain distance to facilitate the root ball to come out (remember what was said before: multiply the thickness of its pseudo-trunk by five to know where to make the trench) and deep, about 50 centimeters at least .
  • The root ball should be conical in shape.
  • Tie the leaves with string so that work is more comfortable.
  • It is important that you then wrap it with a metallic fabric, such as a geotextile or jute fabric to prevent it from breaking.
  • By the end, plant the palm tree in a hole you made beforeor in a large pot. Water it thoroughly, and leave the leaves tied for a few weeks, until you see growth, to avoid losing too much water.

It is very important that when in doubt, you consult with a person who knows about these plants to avoid damaging or traumatizing your palm tree.

How do you transplant large and small palm trees?

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