have to move two pongas that are about 7-8 ft tall and growing too
close to the house. There are five others that are stunted and look
to be in a bad way, that also have to be moved. I would like to
replant to a more open location. What care do I need when I dig
them up and have you any tips with replanting?
tree ferns transplant successfully without much fuss, especially
at this time of year, and you don't have to take a large root system.
To make them easier to
handle, and to reduce transpiration until new roots have formed,
cut off most of the fronds before you dig them up. Push a sharp
spade into the soil to its full depth about 20-30cm out from the
base of the trunk to cut the roots. You should then be able to lever
the tree ferns over to one side and chop through their basal roots.
Take them to their new
position and replant at the same depth as before. If there's any
risk of them being exposed to wind, you should stake the tallest
ones for at least a year until they've established a strong root
system. A good way is to have three stakes at equal distances around
the trunk about 50cm out from it then a tie from each stake to the
trunk. Ideally, place the ties about one third of the way up the
trunk. This way it's held firm regardless of which direction the
wind is coming from.
Water them well, apply
a layer of mulch and then in summer give them a good watering once
or twice a week until they're growing well. But don't be fooled
by the first new fronds that develop into thinking you can stop
watering - transplanted tree ferns often send out new fronds before
they've grown new roots and if the soil dries out excessively they
may wilt and die.
Gardener, Issue 152, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.