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 What's it doing down there? 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
Post What's it doing down there?
The person who actually wants my pear tree came by to look at it, and both of us realized that we don't know what kind of a job digging it out (and replanting it) is likely to be.

My understanding is that dwarf rootstocks don't tend to be that substantial, but I don't know what this is on. Any suggestions about how far from the trunk the more substantial roots probably have grown? What is the largest diameter root we can cut without doing serious damage to the tree?

Generally, what should be be nervous and careful about?


Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:49 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post It's going to sleep!

I forget how old this notorious pear tree of yours is..? ...but my procedure is to invite 'The Recipient' over to dig {though I unusually end up doing the dirty work as the art of using-a-shovel seems lost on modern society}! But I tell them, "The more root you get, the more stored energy will be available to the transplanted tree and the better its chances of survival." I'd begin digging about 4 feet back from the trunk.

Instead of digging with the blade 'facing' the tree, I will use it 'sideways' - so 'looking across' the blade, it lines up with the trees trunk - this way you can follow-out roots without severing them. Most roots tend to be near the surface, and once you expose them, you can pull them aside and begin to undercut the base of the tree. I hate to sever anything larger than an inch... but then every cut takes a something from storage. Mainly - you want the hole!

I'd be most concerned with the 'replanting.' You don't want a freshly dug tree setting around waiting to be planted; I'd suggest 'that hole' be dug first! Then you can modify it with regard to the rootball you get from the newly dug tree. Example: you've got one long large root, dig it a special trench extending beyond the new hole to lay that root in. And give the 'old pear' tree a good pruning to help bring it into balance with the inevitable root loss. Here again, with those multi-grafted trees - you'll have to really watch where you take that wood from...

Another thing I do, when planting any tree, is to assume the best limbs will form on the southern side, so I rotate the trees 'best existing limbs' toward the North and allow the smaller limbs to thrive facing South - thus balancing the tree. And considering the root-loss, don't forget to stake the transplanted pear tree; for both the East, and SW winds of my hometown! I think you've got a newly grafted tree ready to go in the hole..? Otherwise, transplanting wounds would heal quicker if you waited until Spring... Have fun.

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:57 am

Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
The beast has been in my yard for probably 5 years, so it's old enough to have settled in solidly. Thank you for the suggestion to cut radially - that makes so much sense that it should have been obvious, but I would never have thought of it.

Yes, I have a relatively recently grafted (2 years?) apple to put in, but because I seem to want to make my life as difficult as possible, it's not going in the same hole. Oh well, more soil to improve.


Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:33 am
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