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Mapacho

Cliff mother plant: rescue plan

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I've recently been told that the Cliff Bridgesii mother plant will be bulldozed to make way for rental development when Cliff himself passes away.   I feel pretty strongly about saving the plant but it is bloody huge and will require a carefully planned extrication.  It will be going into a planter box that I will construct for the purpose but the aim is to get it in the ground eventually.

If it is ~40 years old:
- how big is the root ball likely to be?

- particularly how deep vs how wide is the root ball likely to go?
- how much of the roots can be safely removed without overall detriment? (the columns have been trimmed back ~20-30%)

- what kind of volume of soil and what dimensions of the planter box am I looking at to best replicate "in the ground" conditions within reason?

- is there anything else I need to be careful of to ensure success?
 

11uhRzP.jpg

And if anyone has good recommendations on slinging and lifting a plant such as this I'd love your input.

Kind regards

 

- Jay

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lol, I was just looking up pics of EXACTLY the same thing

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personally I would cut as much as possible from the mother plant, it will likely get damaged in any removal process anyway

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I'd say you're going to need a crane to get the root ball out. It's going to weigh a LOT. Several hundred kilos maybe. Say the root ball is a metre across and slightly less than a metre deep, that's probably going to weigh upwards of 250kg with soil attached. More if it's wet.

Good on you for trying to save it, you've certainly got your work cut out though.

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Lol that treespade is the business, if only..

It will be a tight fit with the fencing and surrounding trees.  I will go over soon and have a proper look to see what my options are.  I am currently thinking along the lines of trimming it down by 50%, digging roughly a metre around the base, down to 0.5m, working some slings underneath and hoisting it with a 500kg floor crane.  From there it could be dropped onto a pallet on a rough terrain dolly and wheeled out to freedom.

Even if I damaged say 50% of the roots it would recover pretty well no?

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I would imagine so, the key word being imagine.

That thing will have a beast of a root system man, I would think digging to 1m might be better, even then I wouldn't be surprised if you need to get under there with a chainsaw to actually cut it loose. even a 500kg crane might stress if you don't actually cut it loose before hoisting.

all just guess work though, your there.

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slings will work man, it will just be a slow process. lift a little then get in there and chip away and repeat until shes free

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worst comes to worst just cut as much as possible, then be there with a slab/carton/box of beer when they demolish and get the bulldozer to set it aside as best as they can.

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Get a shitty old chainsaw and cut the dirt and roots all the way around, that's right, cut the dirt! As deep as you can.

 

Then just use a crowbar to lever it out. 

 

Use a trailer to take it home as it is lower than a ute tray.  Drop the back of the trailer and make a ramp with two timber sleepers. Use rope and pulleys or a trucky's hitch to drag it up the ramps while someone else pushes.

 

I've used all these techniques to move heavy stuff and it's surprisingly easy and effective.

 

Also remove as many limbs as possible and never lay them on top of one another use styro or old foam mats to stop them spiking each other. Do extra trips if necessary, you don't want it to go the way of poor old Norma.

 

Also keep the rootball dry for a few weeks after replanting.

 

Good luck. Wish I could pitch in :)

Edited by Halcyon Daze
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There will definitely be another Cliff sale I promise you that...

I don't want to rely on his kids letting me know so I can save the plant tbh, its too risky as things can easily change or be forgotten over time.  

I'm pretty sure I can make this work, even at worst I think I can come away with the best part of her and give her a good chance to regrow like crazy.  The main problem is not just the size but that the path from the driveway to the plant is very narrow, too narrow for a bobcat.  I will also have to remove a fence as it is just to get access to the base.  

I do reckon slings are the go, chocked with some cuts of wood.  A crowbar, heck even a 6 foot scaling bar wouldn't cut it imo, unless I get a high lift jack or something.  That chainsaw idea is a damn good one though!  I have a cheap POS ozito I can use for that.  And styro blocks would be great for jamming between limbs...but why do you say chop as many off as possible?  I'd want a fair bit left for photosynthesis wouldn't I?

Rough terrain dollys are cheap from a hire joint.  Any ideas on how to hold it upright while moving it on the dolly?

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Oh and cheers for the tips, and the interest, it gives me further inspiration to make it happen.

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Leave all the woody parts of the trunk in place but lop off all the fleshy stuff. The whole stump will re-sprout like mad. You could easily get 30 new pups on a stump like that. 

 

Plus it will be moveable that way. If it's too tall and branched, it may sustain damage in the move.

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@Halcyon Daze may have the best plan of attack.  You may have to fund this with a huge cutting sale and grab the stump for resurrection.  And if you do that, I think the community would appreciate updates on the post-move status enough that it would be a stickied thread.  It has community feel all over it.  

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Yeah he is onto it!  Thanks for all of the help from all of you, some good points all round.  I have to ring a few hire places to get some quotes, build the appropriate planter box, scope out the yard and organise it with Cliff, so it'll be a while in the unfolding.  @Ambient loves his photography and he'll be around to do all of the heavy work so I'm sure we'll have a few good snaps of the progress and results. :lol:

Stickied or not, its a special plant, one definitely worth saving, and has a great story no doubt there.  She'll definitely be the centrepiece of my shamanic garden for this life atleast, if all goes well. :wink:

 

 

 

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Here's a big ol' Cereus stump I repotted recently, 7 pups so far :)

 

20161208_100801.jpg

 

It started in a pot, then it was planted in the ground for a while, then dug up and repotted for our recent house move. I cut heaps of nice cuttings from it. Most of which have also pupped. I gots cereus coming outa my ears all of a sudden.

 

Wish it was a bridge LOL

Edited by Halcyon Daze
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Havent done cact, but a few trees and palms.... ball and burlap style.

 

If you can start working around the roots/rootball, say 1/3 of the mass , you can promote younger fibrous roots and start releasing the larger anchoring ones.  The roots can recover and will establish better in a new home as younger fibrous roots

 

could also put an easier to dig soil back into the trench dug. A ditchwitch can be handy for trench cuts, but doesnt always handle massive woody roots.

 

too narrow for a bobcat ( damnit..lol) maybe one of those Dingo digger things? Another crazy though maybe use a post hole auger, may only be good for breaking up some areas ??

 

few other thoughts to mull over:wink:.

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Some good ideas, I'll look into them, thanks bro.

 

And what do you mean by 1/3, like discard cut through the outer 2/3rds and aim for the anchors?  I'm just not sure what you're saying.  So I should aim to allow for more of the fibrous roots to remain connected and not worry so much about leaving anchoring ones intact?

Solid info though, loving it :)

Edited by Mapacho

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look at approx the rootball diameter on the ground, divide into three...lol..yeah that was a shit description

 

If you have enough time trim approx 1/3 roots around down an edge, could also backfill with a coarse soil if clay/sillty soil to help get fibrous roots and easier to dig later .Give a few months or longer  to recover. Then smash out another third....and so on.

 

It will be root pruned waiting to be re-dug, rocked and cut free:wink: Can slip a bit of hessian/ tarp under the root when pullng out to keep it all together then for moving.

 

I be guessing a cut trench .75 to 1m deep will be enough to loosen the behemoths grip up.Yhe narrower you can cut a trench the less work it will be up front.

 

If you have a good advance, you could get around the rootball, pruning up the roots and only need to hack through the firbrous roots and anchoring down taproots when time to recover the stumps. Its easy to rock and cut under the ball then. Axe will do it , post hole bar if needing more leverage.

 

might have to do a paint diagram thing...lol

 

Defo want to keep as much fibrous roots as you can , thats where all the initial action for recovery will be:)

 

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Another thing, if you can organize another 3 or 4 friends to help you it will make the job a hellava lot easier, the more the better, even if you just work in shifts.

 

Get your gf to make sandwiches n drinks for the crew and raise morale in general. Get the tunes cranking and have some fun with it.

 

 

Also if you need to drag the bloody thing a distance you could roll it onto a sled made of plyboard n a couple ropes. Or even put rollers under the sled.

 

Chopped up copper logs make excellent rollers. You will want at least 5 or 6 rollers. They work really well, my brother and I have moved massive logs using just copper log rollers and crowbars.  

 

Some of that acient technology is just as useful and easy today as it ever was.

Edited by Halcyon Daze
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