elijahcg
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:34 pm

Transplanting young liquidambar

I have a young liquidambar tree (or trees?) growing precariously in a foot wide patch of dirt between a cement slab and a fence on the side of my house. It is growing less than an inch from the cement and i would like to transplant it before it chokes and dies.

I'd like to make it into a bonsai my main concerns are:
How big of a container do i need initially? (do i need to wait and see the roots to tell?)
if it has a long taproot (or roots), where should i cut it?
how much of the foliage should i remove? (prune before digging up or after repotting?)
how severely can i prune the root ball?
My initial plan was to prune the root ball slightly each year, re potting in a smaller container each time until it can one day fit into a bonsai pot. Does this sound correct?

It has 3 shoots coming out of the ground, one slightly less than an inch thick, the 2nd is about 1/2 inch and the third has become a thin vine that crawls the ground looking for sunlight (area gets no direct sunlight but lots of shaded light). I cannot tell if it is one tree or 3 trees trying to survive adjacently. The tallest trunk is about 3 feet tall.
Sorry for asking so many questions its just rare for my 80 year old liquidambar to propagate itself like this and i have only one chance to save it.
Any advice would be appreciated.
see pictures to see how trunk comes out of dirt and elbows awkwardly upward.
Attachments
pic4.jpg
full view
full view
3 trunks growing close to cement
3 trunks growing close to cement
pic1.jpg

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Transplanting young liquidambar

In a perfect world I would collect him next spring.

This will give you time to:

1. Use your shovel to cut roots slightly short, even while leaving it in place.

2. Use your toe nail cutters to shorten branches to terminal leaf(s) closest to the trunk.

3. Collect the sand or granite chicken scratch and bark mulch to build proper soil.

4. Find a pot that you can enlarge the holes of and barricade with gravel.

Next spring while your tree is still dormant, you can dig it up, and shake old soil out, and replace it with your half'n'half soil of bark mulch and sand. Unless the root ball is bigger than the crown of the tree, I'd not prune it the first year.

June is way way too late to transplant.
Think like a tree
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elijahcg
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:34 pm

Re: Transplanting young liquidambar

thanks for the quick reply! i will wait as long as necessary to ensure the tree survives. any ideal month?

what do you mean by use shovel to cut roots leaving it in place?

should i prune the leaves now or wait until im about to dig it up?
im assuming just trim off big leaves and leave behind new shoots?

liquid ambar can be transplanted with bare roots? or do i need to leave the original soil with the root ball?
thanks for the help!

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Transplanting young liquidambar

I would wait till next spring while the tree is still dormant, before actually transplanting it.

You have other more pressing stuff to get done first.

Not least is cutting branching back to a terminal leaf closest to the trunk, Which you can do now.

"Terminal leaf" if you cut branches back and do not leave at least one leaf at the end of the branch you run the risk of the branch dieing. A live branch can always be wired or pruned again after it back-buds.
Think like a tree
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