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A Moving Story
As a new member I would like to congratulate you
on your excellent publication. I have been growing palms for 18
years and could have benefited greatly had it been around when I
started. It has fired up my imagination and I am now planning an
ambitious revamp of my garden using mainly exotics.
I have a 17-year-old Trachycarpus fortunei in a
sunny SSE facing corner just outside my lounge window. It was two
feet high when I planted it out 9 years ago, but has grown to just
under 10 feet now. The original idea was to admire it from the armchair
in the lounge. I would sit there for hours just looking at it. Unfortunately
all I can see now is the trunk and the lower leaves which clatter
against the window. I had read that they are extremely slow growing,
clearly this is not so in my case as it has grown nearly a foot
per year. I assume that the rapid growth is due to its position
in a sheltered corner that gets extremely hot during the summer,
so hot that you can't stand barefoot on the concrete path beside
it. Anyway, I have decided to move it if I can to a position from
which I can better admire it.
I have studied the section on moving palms in Lynette
Stewart's Palms for the Home & Garden in which she says that
large palms transplant much better than other plants, but I am not
sure if our British summer is long enough for the palm to re-establish
itself in time for the next winter. I am planning to move it in
late April or May. Has anyone tried to move a palm of this size
in Britain? Also does anyone have an idea of the weight, as I cannot
get a crane to the site? Any information or tips will be greatly
Dave Brown, 8 Via Romana, Chalk, Gravesend, Kent DA12 4UL
Trachycarpus palms move easily at any age, any
size, though older trees take longer to recover from the move. The
best time to move them is in summer, but they can be moved successfully
at any time of the year, though avoid winter if you can. If you
have three months before you need to move it, dig a trench of a
spade's width about a foot from the trunk, and about 2ft deep, all
the way round Cut through any roots you find, and fill the trench
in again. Palm roots when cut don 't usually grow again from the
tip, but new roots will grow from the base of the trunk. Thus, after
three months it will have a brand new set of roots. You can then
open up the trench and undercut the rootball, easier if you can
get someone to lean against the trunk, to tip it over. Tie the leaves
up so they don 't get damaged It's likely to be very heavy; a tree
with lOft of trunk and a good-sized rootball can weigh a ton. If
you can 't get a crane (or a truck with a 'HIAB' on the back) then
just get a few strong men (or women, let's not be sexist about this)
who, with a bit of manoevering, should be able to lift it out of
the hole. Some books suggest cutting half the leaves off to compensate
for the reduction in roots. I've never found this necessary with
Trachy's. If the tree decides that its roots can 't support all
the leaves it has, it will lose some of the lower ones of its own
accord. This is not true of all palms.
Put the tree in its new hole (rolling the rootball
in works fine, though the trunk may shoot into the upright positron,
so watch out!) and build a saucer-shaped depression in the soil
to facilitate watering. Give it a good soak every few days if it's
dry, and the job's done. No need to feed it for some month.
If you don 't have time for the 3-months 'trenching',
don 't worry, as the tree will move just as easily, it will just
take a bit longer to recover, as it will have to grow its new roots
after the move instead of before it. M.G.
Calling All Ginger Nuts
I am interested in plants of the Ginger family:
Zingiberacea, and willing to exchange plants to build up an already
extensive collection. Please contact: Geoffrey Lovell, 19 Oatlands,
Gossops Green, Crawley, Sussex, RH1 1 8EE, U.K.
Can anyone tell me the present position with regard
to bringing back plants (palms, probably) from the continent and
from further afield? I am going on holiday soon and would like to
bring some back. Do I need an import license?
Peter King Smith - Woking.
You were always allowed to bring in up to 5 'plants
or parts of plants' from E.E.C countries with no paperwork or documentation,
if you were a tourist returning from holiday and they travelled
with you. Bringing in more than 5, or importing even one by post
requires a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate, issued by the
equivalent of the Ministry of Agriculture in the county of export.
There are obvious restrictions on 'dodgy' plants (potatoes, some
conifers, Dutch elm trees etc.), but no problems with palms. The
position remains thus until June 1st, 1993 (postponed from January
1st) when most commercially produced plants will require a 'plant
passport' before they can move around within the Community. However,
palms are exempt from the plant-passport scheme and you will be
able to bring in as many palms as you like from E.E.C countries,
again with no documentation. They will be able to come in, in pots,
growing in soil or any other growing medium.
For countries outside the E.E.C very different
rules will continue to operate. You will need a 'phyto' for any
plants you bring back, even one or two, and they must be free of
soil, although there is no requirement for the roots to be actually
washed clean. Here too, the rules relax slightly after June 1st,
but with added restrictions (palm enthusiasts note) about palms
coming in from countries or areas where 'Lethal Yellowing Disease'
occurs. If you 're visiting the U.S.A. or Australia, or anywhere
else outside Europe hr that matter, it's probably not worth the
hassle of organizing the documentation, just to bring in a few plants,
tempting though the low prices may seem. There are no restrictions
on the import of palm seeds from any country, and no paperwork is
required, unless you 're bringing in 'commercial quantities' and
then it's more about value than about plant health. M.G. (with thanks
to Mrs Lillian Ehsanullah and Richard Bradfield).
I felt I must write to congratulate you on the new
format of 'Chamaerops'. It looks terrific! As the editor of a similar
journal I confess my first reaction was one of envy as well as admiration.
The full-page color photos bring the authors' subjects to life so
effectively, much better than black & white photos can. And
the front cover with the misty mountainside in Thailand with the
shrouded silhouettes of Trachycarpus palms was a marvellous photograph
and complemented the lead article perfectly.
I seemed to enjoy the articles more in this issue
as well, particularly Jason Payne's piece on some of Scotland's
ancient gardens. Here in Vancouver (Canada) most people regard our
climate as similar to that of the U.K. though the summers tend to
be a little warmer and the winters cooler. We too have lots of Trachycarpus
fortunei in city gardens, as well as the occasional Chamaerops humilis.
Also Dicksonia antarctica has recently been introduced, with some
success. But that Cordyline australis at Logan Botanic Garden! We
have nothing like that within 500 miles.
In the May edition of our journal (The Hardy Palm
International) I have given our subscribers (about 140 and mostly
in Canada and the U.S.) your address and encouraged those interested
to consider subscribing. I hope some of them do.
Nick Parker Editor, 1 1692-89A Avenue, North Delta, BC, V4C 7J6,
Thanks, Nick, and I'm pleased to return the favour
(or should that be 'favor'?) For those who may be interested in
subscribing to the Canadian equivalent of 'Chamaerops' the address
to write to is; Frank Hunaus, 10310 Hollybank Drive, Richmond, BC,
V7E 4S5, Canada. M.G.
Don't Give It Up For Dead
I have been growing palms for some years now and
would like to share my experiences with other E.P.S. members. As
we know a few palms are hardy, more are borderline. Heavy frosts
will catch us out now and again. Many of my palms are grown in the
ground, and a few specimens in pots are located in the corners of
my garden. The area where I live in southeast England is usually
mild but a low of -17.5¾C has been recorded.
The winter of '91 was a bad one here: two weeks
of -5¾ to -7¾C with a low of -12¾C on the last night of the cold
spell. Unfortunately, pot grown Cordylines, Braheas, Trachys, Waggies,
Butias, Washingtonias, and Chamaerops were outside during these
bad frosts. The palms in the ground suffered only slight tip bum,
but with those in pots it was a very different story. Cordylines
were the first to go down with their centre leaves pulling right
out. A strong solution of Benlate was poured into the wound, and
later some dry Benlate dusted on for good measure. All the plants
survived and are multi-headed and look very tropical. One in particular
has eight heads. A Washingtonia lost all its leaves. Eight inches
of trunk was sawn off, and the remaining rot dug out with a spoon,
and a strong Benlate solution was poured into the hole. The plant
now has three new leaves and a spear, admittedly rather small, but
the palm has survived, and each new leaf is bigger than the last.
Two Trachycarpus fortunei were given the same treatment,
one was sawn off, the other spooned out, both given Benlate, both
are now growing, again with small leaves. Butia seemed to be the
hardiest losing only the centre spear. This has been rather slow
to regenerate but it is growing away well now. The Waggy has three
small leaves, even smaller than normal. But the biggest surprise
was a multi trunked Chamaerops, reduced to 5 leaves on the main
trunk, and a gaping rot-filled hole where the centre pulled out.
This was spooned out and filled with Benlate, it now has nine full-sized
leaves plus three spears. Every plant that has had this treatment
The moral is: Pull it out, cut it off, spoon it
out, and fill with strong Benlate solution. You will be surprised
at what will recover, given this chance.
Tony Keating - Surrey
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