nikau palms be shifted? I have some, which at the moment are in
a shady spot. They are not very big yet and I would like to move
them to a sunnier position. What is the best way of doing it, and
will they stand brighter light?
(Rhopalostylis sapida) aren't as amenable to being moved
as most other palms, as their root system doesn't recover quickly,
particularly with young specimens.
In the native bush they
generally spend most of their life under the shade of larger trees,
though they can tolerate sun if allowed to become gradually accustomed
to it. One expert I consulted recommended the best time to move
them is between December and March, as soil temperatures then would
give the best chance of healthy new root growth.
Dig up as much of the
root system as possible, trying to keep the soil intact around the
root ball when you move it. Any roots you cut through with the spade
should be cut again with a sharp pair of secateurs so as to leave
a clean wound, which will have a better chance of resisting dieback.
You may need to stake
them for several months until the new root system has grown, and
protect them from the sudden exposure to sun with shade cloth for
the rest of the summer. They should have acclimatised to the extra
light by the next summer, if they survive the move.
Before digging them up
you could also spray the foliage with an anti-transpirant, such
as Stressguard, which should be available in most garden centres.
This leaves a polymer film on the leaves that reduces water loss
through the leaf surface and is also claimed to act as a sunscreen,
which may increase your chances of success. Good luck.
Gardener, Issue 180, 2005, Page 32
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.